Guardian Poll - Top Show of the Noughties

Category: By Rev/Views
The Guardian are running a poll to vote for the top show of this decade, the list is pretty decent with many worthy mentions on it:

30 Rock
Arrested Development
Band of Brothers
Battlestar Galactica
Big Brother
Black Books
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Doctor Who
Family Guy
Flight of the Conchords
Life on Mars
Mad Men
Peep Show
Planet Earth
Six Feet Under
South Park
State of Play
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
The Office
The Shield
The Sopranos
The Thick of It
The West Wing
The Wire
Top Gear

This being The Guardian, the smart money is on The Wire winning, but most of these shows deserve to be on the list (except for Spooks imo).

You can vote for your favourite at

Edit: At this stage the votes are being heavily weighted by Top Gear and QI fans, which has turned the entire thing into a quite brilliant and whimsical farce. But that's what happens when technologically adept fan(atic)s band together and also create 'sock puppet' votes to inflate their favourite show's standing.

In short, the Guardian really didn't think this one through and as such it's become a two horse race between QI and Top Gear, two excellent shows but neither one really deserves the title as 'the best' compared to many of the other shows there. And that's just hilarious.
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Web Show - Emerson Wild:Monster Hunter Preview

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I am completely and unashamedly a supporter of web released shows like the BBC iPlayer, Dr Horrible and The Guild, all of which (I think) show a new form of television, perhaps the future. Right now, who knows? But I approve of it, especially The Guild which was also released on XBox live, thus allowing me to watch the show from the comfort of my living room (which is a fun place) as opposed to the work based environment of my office (which is a place where bills are paid and words are written).

Lately Emerson Wild: Monster Hunter popped up onto my radar via Nuklear Power and most recently a preview video of the piece has been released on YouTube.

Here is the HD version:

I'll be following and updating about this occasionally as I do like the look, the humor and the style I've seen so far. He used the word irregardless, I love that word!

The Website is located at and twitter is
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The State of the Collection

Category: By Rev/Views
As I'm in work today and I won't be able to update properly because I'm handling all the business decisions while the manager is away here's a short post sharing my now updated DVD collection.

If you click on the picture you can see the large version, most items are pretty clear there. It's in almost alphabetical order, I've had to make some concessions due to the varied sizes of the sets and put them slightly out of order. If there's anything you can't make out just ask, It's pretty easy to identify sets by rows and columns e.g. Row 6, column 5 is Supernatural 1 to 3.

For comparison here's where it was last time I posted about it. The TV Dragons are still in place though!
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Watching The Wire: Season Two: Episode Nine: Stray Rounds

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"The world is a smaller place now."
-- The Greek

Teleplay by David Simon
Directed by Tim Van Patten

Dominic West as Officer Jimmy McNulty, Lance Reddick as Lieutenant Cedric Daniels, Sonja Sohn as Kima Greggs, Deirdre Lovejoy as assistant state's attorney Rhonda Pearlman, Wood Harris as Avon Barksdale, Andre Royo as Bubbles, John Doman as Colonel William Rawls, Frankie Faison as Acting Commissioner Ervin Burrell, Clarke Peters as Cool Lester Smooth Freamon, Amy Ryan as Beadie "Bea/Beadie" Russell and Chris Bauer as Frank Sobotka.

Seth Gilliam as Detective Ellis Carver, Domenick Lombardozzi as Detective Thomas "Herc" Hauk, Jim True-Frost as Detective Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski, Robert Wisdom as Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin, James Ransone as Ziggy Sobotka, Pablo Schreiber as Nick Sobotka, Tom Mardirosian as Agent Koutris, Michael Potts as Brother Mouzone, Bill Raymond as The Greek, Lev Gorens as Eton Ben-Eleazer, Michael Hyatt as Brianna Barksdale, J.D. Williams as Preston "Boadie" Broadus, Tray Chaney as Malik "Poot" Carr, Robert F. Chew as Proposition Joe, Luray Cooper as Nat Coxson, Kelvin Davis as La La, Chris Ashworth as Sergei "Serge" Malatov, Al Brown as Major Stan Valchek, Doug Olear as Terrance "Fitz" Fitzhugh, Charley Scalies as Thomas "Horseface" Pakusa, Delaney Williams as Sergeant Jay Landsman,Ted Feldman as George "Double G" Glekas, Bus Howard as Vernon "Ott" Mottley, Ed Norris as Ed Norris,Gloria Phillips as bereaved mother, Jay Landsman as Lieutenant Dennis Mello, Brook Yeaton as "White" Mike McArdle, De'Rodd Hearns as Puddin, Richard Burton as Shamrock, Jeffrey Pratt Gordon as Johnny "Fifty" Spamanto, Derren M. Fuentes as Lieutenant Torret, Gil Deeble as Hucklebuck, Gordana Rasovich as Ilona Petrovich, Daniel Ferro as Police Officer, Luke Montgomery III as young boy, Randall Boffman as Bill Anderson and Robert F. Colesberry makes his final appearance as Detective Ray Cole (He passed away in 2004).

The Summary:

Read about yo-yo guns, having the drug blues and a couple of deaths beyond the link...

The Recap:

Boadie surveys the streets of Baltimore as a customer arrives in a car, he wants some 'Bin Laden' and is a little confused when he's told they're selling 'WMD' called so because "it'll destruct yo' ass". But once it's explained that it's the same stuff, different name the guy pays up and drives around to pick up. Inside a nearby house a mother is getting her children ready for school, outside the window she sees Poot and the ground stash of drugs.

A short distance away the rival dealers Boadie and the boys ran off previously are arming up, getting ready to retaliate. Ahead of them a young lad on a bike warns Boadie's crew that they're coming up the alley. And as soon as they round the corner Boadie opens fire. In the house the mother runs upstairs and jumps into the bathtub, telling her son to stay on the floor downstairs. Outside the gun fight continues until broken up by the sound of police sirens. The mother discovers that her son has been caught with a stray bullet and been killed. She screams.

Cue the credits...

The Sobotka Detail are in their office listening to some of the wiretap tapes, it's clear that the warehouse has switched things up and turned legitimate, which indicates that the Detail has been compromised - McNulty surmises (correctly) that it was the second can and the port police stopping it which spooked them. Bunk explains to Bea why they switched the can and she curses herself for thinking of the stop. Lester notes that they're not completely aware of what's going on, because if they did know the full truth they would have left by now instead of waiting the Detail out.

Herc and Carver are watching the warehouse, meanwhile across Baltimore Rawls is at the scene of the shoot out, District Commander Howard 'Bunny' Colvin (Bunny from now on) arrives, but a little late in Rawls's opinion. Bunny was at Washington DC and had to hurry back. They talk about the circumstances of the shooting a little and then Bunny calls it all 'f**cking pointless.' Rawls misinterprets that, assuming Bunny is talking about searching for the shooter, Bunny clarifies that he means the entire situation is pointless, the shoot out, the fighting over turf, the "war on drugs" all of it. Pointless.

Stringer and Boadie are talking about what happened, Stringer isn't too pleased with what happened and Boadie explains. Stringer wants to know who shot the boy and then gets angry because this situation means that the cops are going to be all over them and now they're going to have to time out and lay low. He then offers a little advice to Boadie, telling him that the lad needs to know when to flex on a situation. He then tells Boadie to call Shamrock and get the guns dumped in the harbour.

Boadie cleans the guns in the car, sticks them in a bag and dumps them out of the window over the bridge and into the river. They land on the deck of a boat instead. Oops.

Nearby Nick is talking with Vondras about the situation, Vondras tells him that Frank's right to be cautious and then they move on to talk about drugs. Vondras explains that Nicky's a little small time for them and hands him White Mike's number instead. Nicky remembers White Mike, he went to school with him - Vondras assures Nicky that Mike will be no problem now and then hands him a slip with containers on it, all clean, they are to be disappeared. They are to be taken to Newkirk street in order to test the water and see if they are stopped or not.Nicky leaves and Vondras talks a little about how he's confident that the police are not fully onto them.

In the streets the police are out in full force, breaking heads and arresting everyone, shooting a kid means the police have to provide a display of force. One guy protests "I'm clean", the cop retorts "What are you doing in the Pit then?", the guy replies "Saying no to drugs" and the cop retorts again "Don't just say no to drugs motherf**ker. Say 'No, Thank you.'". I love the dialog in The Wire. I really do.

At Prop Joe's place Stringer is talking with Joe about the situation and the plans. It seems that Stringer is considering cooperating despite Avon's unwillingness to do so. Joe tells him about one Charlie Sollers, a heroin dealer who was massive in his time but did it all without ever being known. The guy sold dope, no reputation or anything, and as such the Police never even got a whiff of him. That's how Joe prefers to do business, and Stringer seems inclined to agree. They strike a deal, Stringer giving up half of his towers to Joe in exchange for a connect to the boat. The question is if Avon will accept it, Stringer thinks he will.

Ziggy is out with Steve, they're looking at a parking lot filled with cars. It seems Steven has an idea, or at least Ziggy has one. A bit later in Dolores's, Ziggy talks with Johnny 50 about his idea. Then he banters a little with the other patrons over Steve's preferred drinking habits before New Charles strides hops back in, he's up on his feet foot again after his accident last episode. He asks about the duck and then the stevedores mull over a new name for New Charles. 'Stump', 'Peg', 'New Peggy' and 'Tilt' are all suggested and New Charles (who receives some money from Dolores) settles on Ziggy's suggestion of Tilt.

McNulty is on a pay phone, calling about the girls, he denies any involvement with the police and refuses to tell her where she lives. She smells a rat as his story is terrible, and she hangs up on him. Kima notes how much he sucked at it.

Outside Dolores's Nicky runs into Ziggy, who takes a pop at him before staggering off with Steve's lead in his hand. Inside the bar is quiet and when Nicky asks what's up with Ziggy Dolores refuses to answer. Nicky notices that poor Steve is dead on the pool table. (Just in case you've forgotten, Steve is the duck, not a man).

The Detail is back talking about the coded conversations they've heard on the wiretap. They come to realise that the warehouse is shipping coke and heroin, and in serious quantities. Kilos, no ounces. Daniels identifies that this means they're on the main stem. Ronnie lets them know that they can set up a wiretap anywhere they need to at this point and Daniels notes that all they need is a new number to listen to. Daniels lays out the plan for the coming days and the team breaks up. Lester hangs back to talk with Greggs and McNulty about their angle on the girls and the prositution. Lester suggests that the further away McNulty sounds, the more believable it is. McNulty demonstrates an awful English accent - nicely sending up himself in a bit of self aware humour.

In the Diner, Vondras is talking with Eton about the chemicals that they have been getting. The Colombians are trying to offer half of what they owe (two hundred thousand instead of four hundred thousand) and Eton wants to know what The Greek will do about this. Vondras responds that The Greek will be smart.

Homicide is full of suspects at the moment. Landsman is less than impressed with this and talks with Cole and his partner about this. Boadie's name is mentioned and Landsman wishes to know why Boadie isn't here and being thorougly interrogated. Cole responds that the have cars waiting at Boadie's grandmothers already.

Ziggy is with Double G at the back of the electronics store, he's outlining his plan. Apparently he's planning to rip cars, he wants about fifteen thousand per car. Double G isn't keen on this because stolen cars are hard to shift. But Ziggy suggests that they consider shipping the cars out to Europe and butters up Double G a little.

In Daniel's office one James Cromwell walks in with Lester. Cromwell of Knightsbridge, Stepney and Mersey. Lester's suggestion has paid off, McNulty has a cover identity which might well work. It's gone as far as getting him a pick up from the shuttle despite his awful English accent. It's just a shame they're not back up on the wire when they tackle this; but as Daniels notes, with a little luck they could be. As they turn to leave Daniels muses about how odd it is that there are no files on Sergei/Boris and asks McNulty to talk with Special Agent Fitz about the database. McNulty admits he made a point of pissing off the guy because of what happened in the Barksdale case. Lester then tells McNulty to also look up George "Double G" at the same time.

Ziggy and Johnny 50 are looking at the cars. Ziggy has a plan of action in mind here.

In the Detail Bea notice a can on the Talco line disappear. They decide not to follow and instead contact Herc and Carver, telling them to see if it arrives and watch what happens. Needless to say Herc and Carver are a little bored.

McNulty meets with Fitzhugh at the FBI offices, the two of them settle old history and then move on. He hands over the pictures of Double G and "Boris" so Fitz looks them up. Fitz finds nothing until he checks deeper and then he gets an Agent Ernest Koutris and phones him. Kourtis answers on the other end, playing down Double G's circumstances, describing him as a small time criminal. After hanging up he then calls a second number, telling the person on the other end that they "need to talk".

At Pyramid Inc. the clean can arrives and is photographed by Herc and Carver. They are told to wait on it.

In the interview room Boadie is being talked to by Cole, they're trying to pull an angle on Boadie and get him to confess. But unlike Dee (if you recall the first season interview between D'Angelo, Bunk and McNulty) Boadie is as cool as a cucumber. At least until the bag containing the guns turns up, he cracks a little at this by reacting to it. But then Cole takes the guns out of the bag and claims to have his prints on one of them, Boadie responds after a moment with "Which one?" Cole hesitates and then points to one of the guns, Boadie's only response is to call for a lawyer.

The Greek is meeting with Vondras, Double G, Eton and others. It seems that someone has leaked that people have been looking into Double G's past (I wonder who leaked that?) and also that the clean cans are not being watched or followed (they are being watched in truth, but Herc and Carver are too well hidden to spot). The Greek decides that a couple more days of this and then they can go back into business. The Greek then starts to talk about the Colombians. He's looking at this in a pragmatic sense, the Columbians are seeking to screw him over on the money, but he has a friend he now owes a favour to, a friend who would be very interested in rounding up these Colombians. Eton's phone rings, it's Sergei. They talk about running another clean can and then bringing the La-Z-Boys back in (the drugs). The entire conversation is monitored by Bea and Bunk. They now have Eton's number and with an affidavit they'll be back on the trail.

Stringer is having the good from his deal with Prop Joe checked, it's raw and pure. So once the police calm down Prop Joe gets three of the towers and the Barksdales are back in business. Things are looking up for Stringer.

At the Detail's office they are putting the pieces together about the Greek's operation when McNulty returns. He hasn't found out much on Double G (Gleakas), and in truth the whole trip may have caused more damage than it helped. But he's not to know about that, not even Fitz is aware there may be a leak involved. But what little information he does have indicates that they move around. McNulty heads off to get ready for his "night out" and Ronnie heads out to get the affidavit.

Double G hands Ziggy the list of cars. It looks like they're in business together.

Stringer is at the funeral home talking to his Lieutenants about the situation. They've all screwed up with these guns and he's not impressed with it all. He tells Boadie to stay behind after dismissing them, Boadie didn't roll an inch in the interview room and displays some intelligence over this. Stringer shakes his hand, they're all good.

Ziggy is in a jewellers, he's trading in Steve's collar for some capital so he can afford the kit needed to start stealing those cars.

Nicky meets with White Mike over the reup. White Mike balks a little at the price, calls Sergei/Boris and then it's all good. He's also a little concerned because an immigrant looking type was dumped near his place dead. But Sergei assures him, if the body had hands and a face it wasn't them. Nicky and Mike conclude the deal.

Prez and Lester were on the wire while this conversation occurred on the phone. Lester gets up and walks past Ronnie, Kima, Bunk and Daniels who are presenting McNulty with his "man's purse". It's a place to hide the mike. McNulty is told the code phrase "spot on" and reminded how things go down. Lester is on the phone by this point, calling about bodies missing heads and hands.

The Greek is sat on the bench with Koutris, after a few moments he hands him a piece of paper and walks away.

Frank, Nat and Horse are celebrating, apparently money has been put aside in the budget and things are looking good for them. Frank asks Nat for another year in office to finish what he started. Nat doesn't agree. But they are interrupted by Agent Koutris walking in and asking for help, he hands a piece of paper to Frank.

"Cromwell" sings "An Enchanted Evening" before being picked up by the shuttle, the rest of the detail pick up and follow.

Koutris is at one of the cans, it's filled with paint pigments but he's been told it contains something else. Everyone watches while the can is scanned. Apparently there's nothing other than the barrels of pigment there. Frank has no idea what's going on (for once), as Koutris walks up to one of the barrels and picks up some pigment crystals.

Stringer meets with Brianna about the new deal with Prop Joe. Stringer needs Bri to break the news to Avon, she's not sure he'll listen to her anymore - she still feels it's Avon who's responsible for Dee's suicide. Of course Stringer knows the truth, it wasn't a suicide and Avon wasn't responsible. But he isn't going to admit to that. Stringer continues to point out how weak the Barksdale's position is and asks her again to try. She agrees.

"Cromwell" is in the brothel when the girls are paraded out in their lingere. He mulls a little over the choices before asking if it would be wrong to have two. Downstairs Daniels and the uniforms are getting ready to move.

Koutris is on the phone, he's annoyed that there is nothing but paint pigments here. But the voice on the other end tells him it is ther. Koutris then scratches some of the pigment and finds that it's white underneath. The blue pigmentation is just a surface screen.

"Cromwell" has made his choice (pretty good choices in fact) and is being led onto the bed by the two women, he's a little hesitant and once they start on him he has trouble remembering the code phrase. Eventually he remembers it and the police move in. Kima knocks on the door and they are actually let inside without any trouble. The cops start handcuffing the madam and the girls while Bunk and Kima head over to the room where "Cromwell" is. In true McNulty style he's balls deep inside a woman by the time they get there.

The news are reporting on Koutris's success, which is a big hit on the Colombian's business. That's what you get if you mess with The Greek.

Valchek watches this report with Burrell, Rawls, Ronnie and Daniels. Ronnie and Daniels are here to tell them how well they're doing and how close they are to getting the top players. They also mention the brothel, Burrell jokes that they should probably flush any client list they find. Rawls wants to know how close they are to the murders, Valchek on the other hands wants to know how Frank fits into this. He wants Sobotka, but Ronnie and Daniels hold firm, they're unwilling to charge Frank at this point. Valchek tries to rain the thing back at Frank, but Burrell pulls rank on him, telling him that the case goes where it goes. Valchek gets short at all of this, he's determined to do something and storms out.

Brianna talks with Stringer about Avon's thoughts on this. Avon isn't willing to budge, but he's sending the best muscle he can find. One Brother Mouzone. Working on retainer. Stringer seems concerned about this.

McNulty is writing up what happened at the brothel. Bunk is highly amused at McNulty's attempts to explain the situation he ended up in. But McNulty admits he can't lie about this despite the number of departmental regulations he broke. Ronnie reads what happened on his screen, her face pretty much sums it up.

Stringer meets with Prop Joe about Brother Mouzone, Joe's concerned about the arrival of Brother. Stringer says he can't move against Mouzone, but Prop Joe isn't willing to even consider it, Brother Mouzone it seems is exceptionally dangerous. Stringer tells him to move his guys into the towers and not worry about it.

Herc and Carver call in another truck, then Prez and Lester hear the phone call to Vondras. It's about the trucks and about the brothel. Prez suggests tapping that phone and Lester admits they might have probable cause now.

Bunny is looking at the streets. It's quiet out there today. He climbs into his car and drives off. Another car arrives, it has New York plates. A well dressed gentleman gets out and walks up to look at the towers. The Brother is here...

The Review:

I think the first thing to aknowledge here is that this is the last appearance of Detective Ray Cole who was played by Robert F. Colesberry, apart from acting he also produced The Wire and worked on many other projects, for more look here here. His presensce is still a part of The Wire's second season though because he directed the season finale. Still, this is the last time the plodding Ray Cole will semi-bungle his way through a case.

The title of the episode 'Stray Rounds' overtly references the bullet which caught the young boy at the start of the episode, wikipedia also mentions it references the rounds of drink which killed Steve the duck, but I'm also of the opinion it's referencing many other people in the show who are being "hit" with things that were not initially aimed at them. Much like the collateral damage reference from earlier in the season.

You have to respect just how much Boadie has grown over this season, he's really learnt from Dee and has become the last man standing from the famous 'chess game' scene in the first season. Wallace was the first to fall if you remember, Dee died a few episodes ago, but the Boadie still abides. It was great to watch him get the better of Cole in that interrogation room, while he gave one thing away (that he recognised the bag) he recovered it so well that he got out of there without a charge on him. I suspect it was Levy who acted as his lawyer - that man has his fingers in all the dirty Baltimore pies.

There are a couple of notable first appearances in this episode as well as Cole's final appearance. Howard 'Bunny' Colvin is one of them, I completely forgot that he was introduced in this season and of course Brother Mouzone is the other one - I knew he made an appearance, but I forgot how late on it was. Both of these guys are worth keeping an eye on, they are fantastic characters. Even if Mouzone is a little out of style for the show at times (his character style is a lot like Omar as you'll come to realise over time).

Overall Stray Rounds is what I'd call a solid episode, it introduces some key elements while also revealing just how entrenched The Greek's organisation is. The Detail have a hard job if they want to even get Vondras, and they don't have the slightest sniff of The Greek himself at this point. It shows you how well organised they are when you realise that Double G and Sergei, who are effectively lieutenants, have almost no criminal record.

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DVDs in Review #78 - Futurama: The Complete Fourth Season

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(Previous seasons can be found here: One, Two & Three)
It's time to close out the Futurama season DVD reviews with the fourth and possibly best season of the show. This four disc set contains the final eighteen episodes of the original run and has the vast bulk of my favourite episodes in it.

The first episode of the season echoes the first episode of the previous season, developing Kif and Amy's burgeoning relationship further in Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch (BAM!). Naturally it's quite a Kif-centric episode; but also features the rest of the cast, Zapp Brannigan and the "holo-shed" of The Nimbus (BP-1729). In Leela's Homeworld the story builds from a brief Easter egg moment in the second season (I Second That Emotion), which revealed to the sharp eyed viewer two individuals which looked a lot like Leela. In a rather touching and emotional episode Leela herself discovers the truth behind her abandonment and identity of her parents. In Love and Rocket Sigorney Weaver plays "Planet Express Ship" as Bender and her/it embark on a relationship which ends in a truly Bender like style. Less Than Hero has Fry and Leela becoming superheroes after they discover a miracle cream which has the side-effect of giving superpowers to humans. Suffice to say this episode is so good that it's a real question why Matt Groening hasn't created a superhero cartoon. And finally A Taste of Freedom explores what freedom really means and gives us plenty of Zoidberg moments (good Zoidberg moments as opposed to the boring ones in That's Lobstertainment last season).

The second disc starts with Bender Should Not Be Allowed on TV, which is either an excellent parody of the media or a damning statement against the attitudes of the viewers. Perhaps both. Jurassic Bark is another tear-jerker in the style of Luck of the Fryish, this time dealing with Fry's best friend from the past - a dog named Seymour. In Crimes of the Hot the issue of global warming is touched on and given the Futurama treatment and Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles allows Leela to explore her relationship with her parents more when the entire crew are accidentally youth-asized. Finally the second disc ends with the return of Nibbler and the Flying Brain-Spawn. As I said while reviewing season three, I don't care much for Nibbler, but I adore this story and the way it finally closes out that Easter egg from the pilot episode.

Disc three begins with great gusto in an unashamed tribute to Star Trek titled Where No Fan Has Gone Before. Almost the entire original cast of Star Trek are brought back together for this show, including Nichelle Nicholes and Leonard Nimoy who both previously appeared on the show. Only Bones and Scotty are absent from this. In The Sting Leela is horrified when a relatively simple (but dangerous) task results in Fry's demise. Fun Trivia: The only Futurama cast member to have never "died" in the show (including the non-canon stories from the Anthologies) is Leela. In Bend Her everyone's favourite bending unit (second favourite if you're a Flexo fan) swaps genders in order to cheat at the Olympics and in Obsoletely Fabulous Bender is re programed to work with the new robot 1-X - with disastrous results.

The final disc contains just four episodes, but I feel these four are amongst the greatest. The Farnsworth Parabox has the Professor accidentally creating a box containing an alternative universe (there used to be just the two, the other lot had cowboy hats). Three Hundred Big Boys is my all time favourite Futurama episode (along with A Head in the Polls) and has Nixon issuing a tax refund to everyone on the planet, it's a wonderful episode with a story for every single Planet Express character and it climaxes in a moment I'd call sublime. Spanish Fry brings back Lrrr and Ndnd when Fry's nose is poached and The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings closes out the entire run with the return of Dan Castellaneta as the Robot Devil and an entire Opera show. The episode ends on a sweet moment which was written because they weren't sure they were going to be renewed at the time. They weren't, and for a long time it functioned as the end of the show - and it was a great ending.

The set itself is as sharp and well designed as the previous ones. It again comes in two sizes (old one being thicker) and has a plastic dust cover which contains windows, this time the style is different to the previous "looking at the back image) used. Instead when you take the cover (depicting the three principle cast members) off the box itself has "x-ray" versions of them underneath.

Each and every DVD case has unique artwork (as before) and the menus on the discs are smoother than ever. The "Play All" button is present on all root menus, just like the third season - which I always approve of, I like the Play All option. Basically the standard set in the previous seasons is maintained here, making owning a copy of Futurama Season Four and enjoyable experience for visual, audio and tactile senses, heck all it would have to do is taste and smell nice and all five senses would be delighted at once.

Make no mistake, this is the best season of the show, but if you're a fan of Futurama you'll already know that and I'm just wasting my words. For everyone else; get it, watch it, love it.

Disc One:
Three Deleted Scenes

Disc Two:
Gallery Images
Five Deleted Scenes

Disc Three:
Four Deleted Scenes

Disc Four:
Audio Commentary
Four Deleted Scenes
Easter Eggs
11 3D Models from Rough Draft
Stills Gallery
Four Trailers
Nine Pencil Test Segments

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DVDs in Review #77: Futurama: The Complete Third Season

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"The big brain am winning again! I am the greetest! Hahahaha! And now, I will leave Earth for no raisin!"

While I enjoy the first two seasons of Futurama greatly, I feel it's the third season where the show really begins to take off and hit it's stride. The second season contains a few of my favourite episodes, but the third season is absolutely rife with them, I'd call it infested with goodness, but then I'd have nowhere to go when describing the fourth season.

The third season not only provides laughs a plenty but also builds on previous story lines and some of the foreshadowing which occurred in the first two seasons. Of particular note is one piece of foreshadowing which actually occurred back in the pilot episode of the show and I'll write about it when we get to the relevant episode. It's touches like this; along with an evolving state of characters, great gags and a genuine feeling of chronology which makes Futurama something rather special in the world of cartoons. Many other cartoons lack that sense of reality, so to speak.

Amazon Women in the Mood is the first episode of the season and a prime example of how the show builds on previous moments, providing growth for unexpected characters - in this case Amy and Kiff, who if you recall, were thrown together back on the Titanic in season one by Amy's parents. It seemed like a throwaway gag at the time, but in this episode it's brought forward and allows us to learn more about the poor, rundown sidekick to Zapp Brannigan (additionally giving us more Zapp at the same time). Parastites Lost has Fry becoming infected with intelligent intestinal worms which actually set about improving their host. We get to experience what Fry would be like if he'd just been born smarter and stronger. Leela falls for this new and improved Fry, but in a genuine feeling moment Fry decides to see if it's him or the what the worms have made him she loves. The answer isn't the one he wanted to hear, but it gives the viewer a fun swashbuckling version of Inner Space to watch.

A Tale of Two Santas brings back everyone's favourite homicidal robotic Santa, this time voiced by John DeMaggio instead of John Goodman, you wouldn't even be able to tell the difference. Luck of the Fryish is an unexpected story which mixes two time lines, telling the story of Philip J. Fry (3000) and Philip J Fry (2000). The end of the episode is one of the most touching moments in the show and it's a joyous surprise to experience. The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz brings things back with just good old fashioned Bender style fun and a horde of murderous penguins to boot - Waak, waak waak! Finally the first disc is closed out with the return of Flexo in Bendless Love, another Bender-centric story with probably my favourite Bender expression. His eyes when Angeline tells him "I'll always care for you too." always does it for me.

The second disc starts with the episode which starts to pay off that brief "easter egg" in the pilot episode. In The Day the Earth Stood Stupid it turns out that Nibbler is not a mindless eating/pooping machine, but a hyper intelligent being stationed to help Fry save the Earth from the Flying Brains. Now I'm rather ambivalent where Nibbler is concerned, but I do love this episode so I'm willing to overlook the more irritating aspects of the character. That's Lobstertainment! is generally considered to be the weakest Futurama episode and I concur on that front, I often skip it when watching this season.

Fortunately the other episodes on this disc more than make up for that snooze-fest The Cyber House Rules gives us a two eyed Leela and Bender as a father - an exceptionally negligent and irresponsible father. Where the Buggalo Roam returns us to Mars and expands further on the Kiff/Amy relationship (plus more Zapp and some pseudo-cowboy action!), Insane in the Mainframe introduces the brilliant Roberto in a storyline which ends up with Fry being incarcerated in an asylum for insane robots and finally The Route of all Evil has Cubert (who I just love) and loads of "Paperboy" homages.

Disc three starts with Bendin' in the Wind, which is nothing short of a non-stop Beck and Bender lovefest, Beck's music is just fantastic (this episode actually introduced me to it, I now have most of his albums). Time Keeps on Slipping continues to build on the Fry/Leela dynamic and also introduces the amazing Harlem Globe Trotters. I Dated A Robot features Lucy Liu along with a return to the Internet (I love the Internet in Futurama, there needs to be more of it). A Leela of Her Own is another one of those episodes I'm not to bothered with, but I put this down to a lack of baseball in the UK, and finally we have A Pharaoh to Remember - "Remember me! Remember me!"

The last disc is probably the best of the four discs, it has Anthology of Interest II - which again has three great non-cannon stories, in this case they are "what if Bender was human", "what if life was more like video games" and "Futurama Wizard of Oz". I could watch Anthology of Interest episodes all day if they'd make more of them. Roswell that Ends Well is a superb episode with some wonderful time travel hi jinks, Godfellas has Bender playing god and then meeting something which might be God. Future Stock is a fun romp and spoof of the more, um, "special" quantities of the 1980s and The 50% Iron Chef rounds out the season nicely with Bender and Elzar in a cook-off.

There's no doubt that this is an amazing season, I'm still unsure if it's the best - I'll probably make the final decision once I go over the fourth season later this week. But for now it's enough to say that it's an improvement over the already excellent second season, which is what you want - in an ideal world each season is better than the ones which came before it.

The cover for this set is probably the best one yet, this time the windows set into the plastic dust cover function as helmets for the cast (though why Bender needs a helmet is a question not worth answering, perhaps it's so he can smoke in space.) and the scene inside references many of the events from the show. Each individual DVD case also has original artwork - by now you know the drill, nothing held back for these sets. Again you can get the sets with standard sized DVD cases (older version) and the thin slimline-DVDs in the newer edition.

Disc One:
Gallery Images
Deleted Scenes for all six episodes
Audio Commentary

Disc Two:
5 Deleted Scenes

Disc Three:
3 Deleted Scenes

Disc Four:
Alternate Animatics Commentary for Roswell That Ends Well
How to Draw Characters galleries
Gallery Images
3 Deleted Scenes
9 3D Models from Rough Draft sequences (these are great)
International Clip
Three Trailers

Languages: English, French
Subtitles: Danish, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Swedish, English HOH
Rating: 12
Direct Link

DVDs in Review # 76: Mad Men: Season One.

Category: , , By Rev/Views
With the third season of AMC's Mad Men set to debut in a few weeks I felt like writing about the previous seasons and their DVD sets. For myself Mad Men is the cultural heir to the crown of 'Top Drama' which has been previously occupied by Six Feet Under, Deadwood, The Sopranos, The Wire and The Shield. Times are pretty lean if you enjoy high quality drama, so I take it where I can get it - fortunately (as I've written previously) Mad Men is a show which embodies quality in every aspect.

Created by Sporanos alumni Matthew Weiner (Who drafted the pilot before starting work on The Sopranos) Mad Men focuses around the offices of Sterling Cooper, an advertising company located on New York's Maddison Avenue in the 1960s. Mad Men itself was a term created by the advertising executives who worked at that time - it pays to advertise yourself if you're in the business of advertising other people's products.

Donald Draper (Jon Hamm) is the principle star and character of the show, is the creative director of the company, an inspired individual who is as brilliant as he his complex. Much of the show revolves around Don's work and home life and as the series progresses we come to learn more about him. Don employs one Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) to work as his new secretary, a quiet and unassuming young woman who shows a real creative flair as time passes.

Also working for the company are the ambitious Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), a young executive with everything to prove; Roger Sterling (John Slattery) senior partner, Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) media buyer, Salvatore Romano (Bryan Batt) the Italian-American Art Director, Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) and the simply fantastic Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) who heads up the secretarial pool and dispenses both discipline and advice to the other women in the office.

At home Don lives with his wife Betty (January Jones), son Robert (Aaron Hart) and daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka); his wife is beautiful and his children are adorable and devoted, but Don still seems troubled and discontent. So he dallies with other women.

Mad Men is everything it should be and everything you could hope for in a television show, from it's stunning appearance, through the tight writing, enthralling dialog and all the way to the complexity of it's stories this is a show that, without a single doubt, succeeds. It's first season is gripping, interesting and intelligent, showing American history through the window of advertising and creating a world which feels almost historical itself. It's such a well crafted piece you could almost think it was a reenactment of the times rather than a drama.

Now the first season set is pretty much what you'd call 'no frills', apart from a cardboard dust cover (which is just lovely to the touch) and a few on disc extras this set is stripped to the bare basics. But that has helped keep the price down, while I would have appreciated something which managed to evoke the feel of the era - perhaps designed all in cardboard with minimal plastic - I can certainly appreciate the pure simplicity of this set and the low price which came as a result. The UK edition also has a stylish cover and the back really evokes the feel of the 1960s wonderfully. So it's a pretty big success for a three disc set.

If you consider yourself a connoisseur of the best in drama or simply enjoy a well put together show with depth, strong characters and a genuine feel to it you'd do yourself well picking up Mad Men's first season. I feel this is one to recommend to any fan of the drama shows I mentioned in my opening paragraph as it's quite simply the best drama on television at the moment.

Believe what you hear about this one.

Advertising the American Dream
Scoring Mad Men
Audio Commentaries with cast and crew

Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Language: English
Rating: 15
Region: 2
Run Time: 9 hours 42 minutes
Subtitles: English HOH
Direct Link

DVDs in Review #75: Futurama: The Complete Second Season

Category: , , , By Rev/Views
First Season review is located here.
"Morbo will now introduce tonight's candidates... PUNY HUMAN NUMBER ONE, PUNY HUMAN NUMBER TWO, and Morbo's good friend, Richard Nixon.

The second season of the sci-fi comedy cartoon Futurama first aired in 1999 and contains a total of nineteen episodes. Just like any good television piece, there is a marked improvement in quality between the first and second seasons. The greater quantity of episodes hasn't resulted in a reduction in quality, instead many of the episodes are funnier and more memorable than the first.

The season opens with I Second That Emotion - a jealous Bender has an empathy chip installed in his bonce after he flushes Nibbler down into the sewers. Driven by Leela's emotions he is compelled to go after the critter and joined by Fry and Leela they encounter an entire civilisation underneath New New York, a civilisation plagued by a beast known only as El Chupanibre. It's the first appearance of the sewer mutants and a great episode to open with. In Brannigan, Begin Again - everyone's favourite Captain Kirk knock-off blunders by blowing up the new DOOP headquarters during the ribbon cutting ceremony and is thrown out of his job. Hired by the Professor he proceeds to lead a mutiny against Leela, and then continues to wage his war against the neutral forces of neutral in his own kamikaze style.

The next two episodes remain amongst my favourite, the first of them A Head in the Polls might possibly be my all time favourite episode. It expands on the hilarious Richard Nixon "cameo" from the pilot episode by having him running for the post of Earth's president, aided by the charisma of Bender's butt (and body). It's up to the crew of Planet Express to stop him - do they manage it? Well do the words "NIXON'S BACK!" followed by a rampage towards the White House answer that question? Xmas Story features John Goodman in his one appearance as the awesome Robot Santa (John DeMaggio takes over in later episodes, but I also do a mean Robot Santa impression if anyone needs one) and the first disc is closed out with Why Must I be a Crustacean in Love? The first episode focused mostly around one of my favourite characters, Dr. Zoidberg. Oddly though, this is not one of my favourite episodes - it has good moments, but for the most part it just doesn't click with me.

The second disc contains the awesome The Lesser of Two Evils, which introduces Flexo, Bender's goatee wearing double; the always enjoyable Put Your Head on my Shoulders - Fry on rare form as a complete buffoon here (and less irritating than A Fishfull of Dollars for sure); Raging Bender, A Bicyclops Built For Two (both good episodes, especially the Virtual Internet scenes from Bicyclops) and A Clone of My Own, another episode I adore - mostly because of Cubert, a child genius who promptly points out every single illogical flaw he can find.

The third disc has the somewhat Hermes centric episode How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back, another episode with an awesome musical number (the first one was Hell is Other Robots); The Deep South - which is an episode I can take or leave, but also has some brilliant gags - especially the ones involving Zoidberg's house; Bender Gets Made brings us the brilliant robot mafia; Mother's Day expands on everyone's favourite Mom when she decides to have all the robots on the planet conquer Earth for her and The Problem With Popplers (named after that Star Trek episode), which introduces the first of the Freewaterfall family and then promptly kills him off.

The last disc contains Anthology of Interest I, which is rather like the Simpson's Treehouse of Horrors, it contains three standalone stories created by the "What If" machine. They're not cannon, but they are immense fun. In one story Bender is a giant robot (spoofing the Iron Giant and Godzilla at the same time), in the second we see what life would be like if Leela was more decisive (short version, she'd kill a lot of people) and in the last one we find out what would happen if Fry hadn't been frozen and sent to the Future (short version; he spends an eternity playing D&D with Deep Blue, Al "I'm a twelfth level vice-president" Gore, Gary Gygax and Nichelle Nichols (Cursed to an eternity with nerds). While all these episodes are non-canon they are immense fun and it's amazing so much gets packed into each story.

The other three episodes on the final disc are the Starship Troopers homage War Is the H-Word (Daffodil, Daffodil, Daffodil!), The Honking with it's brilliant were-cars and The Cryonic Woman, where Fry is reunited with his ex-girlfriend Michelle (who broke up with him in the pilot episode if you recall that far back).

It's just a great season filled with gags, enjoyable stories and a lot of good future-fashioned fun!

Packaging-wise the set is just pure physical poetry, again you have the slightly transparent plastic outer sheath which combines with original artwork to create a great set of scenes. There's a little bit of an odd moment on the one side (which you can see in the picture above), I'm not sure why Fry is suffocating when he has two air tubes. There are again two versions of this set, the older fat version using normal DVD cases and the newer slim-line version. Once again I (sadly) have the fat versions.

Each of the four DVDs has original art, 30th Century Fox logos and a spine which combines to make a conga line containing Leela, Bender, Zoidberg and Fry. As always Futurama packaging puts other sets to shame with it's extravagance, detail and sheer entertainment value.

The menus on the old versions have slightly rough loops, but it's a vast improvement over the first season and the are animated - there's just a faint fade before the sound loops and no jarring on the animation recycling. There is still no "Play All" button (on my version at least), that doesn't make an appearance until season three.

The commentary remains as excellent as ever, as do all of the sub-menus. You can just feel how much effort and care went into the production of these sets, it's not just a case of slap on some pictures and roll it out.

If you enjoyed the first season, you'll love the second one - and this set is the best way to express that love. Say it with commercialism! It's the only way they'll know you mean it, because remember - love is quantified by the amount of money spent on it.

Disc One:
Animatic for "Why Must I be a Crustacean in Love?"
Deleted Scenes for all five episodes
Commentary - Excellent commentary
Easter Egg - Nibbler's Eyeball on I Second That Emotion

Disc Two:
Storyboards for "A Bicyclops Built for Two"
Deleted Scenes for all five episodes
Commentary, James Commentary
Easter Egg - Select the Tiara on The Lesser of Two Evils menu and Gem on A Bicyclops Built for Two

Disc Three:
(I especially like the opening menu animation for this disc)
Deleted Scenes for The Deep South, Bender Gets Made and The Problem with Popplers
Easter Eggs - The floppy disc on "How Hermes..." menu,

Disc Four:
Still Gallery/Concept Art
Alien Alphabet
International Clips
Alien Advertisments
Deleted Scene from The Honking and The Cryonic Woman
Futurama DVD Season 1 Trailer
Easter Egg - Select the remote showing Bender at the bottom of War is the H-Word's menu and Monday Monkey on The Cryonic Woman

All of the Easter Eggs show various members of the Futurama production crew as teenagers. Dork alert!
Direct Link

Watching The Wire: Season Two: Episode Eight: - "Duck and Cover"

Category: , , , , , , , By Rev/Views

“How come they don’t fly away?”
-- Ziggy

Teleplay by George P. Pelecanos Directed by Daniel Attias

Dominic West as Officer Jimmy McNulty, Lance Reddick as Lieutenant Cedric Daniels, Sonja Sohn as Kima Greggs, Deirdre Lovejoy as assistant state's attorney Rhonda Pearlman, Wood Harris as Avon Barksdale, Andre Royo as Bubbles, John Doman as Colonel William Rawls, Frankie Faison as Acting Commissioner Ervin Burrell, Clarke Peters as Cool Lester Smooth Freamon, Amy Ryan as Beadie "Bea/Beadie" Russell and Chris Bauer as Frank Sobotka.

Seth Gilliam as Detective Ellis Carver, Domenick Lombardozzi as Detective Thomas "Herc" Hauk, Jim True-Frost as Detective Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski, James Ransone as Ziggy Sobotka, Pablo Schreiber as Nick Sobotka, Robert Hogan as Louis Sobotka, Bill Raymond as The Greek, J.D. Williams as Preston "Boadie" Broadus, Chris Ashworth as Sergei "Serge" Malatov, Ted Feldman as George "Double G" Glekas, Jeffrey Fugitt as Officer Claude Diggins, Lance Irwin as Maui, Charley Scalies as Thomas "Horseface" Pakusa, Kelvin Davis as La La, Bus Howard as Vernon "Ott" Mottley, Richard Pelzman as Little Big Roy, Jeffrey Pratt Gordon as Johnny "Fifty" Spamanto, J. Valenteen Gregg as Chess, De'Rodd Hearns as Puddin, Tray Chaney as Malik "Poot" Carr, Luray Cooper as Nat Coxson, Bill Heneghan as Maryland Port Authority Commander, Kevin Jiggets as Frommers, and Billy Finnigan as Bernand AKA "Fuzzy Dunlop"

The Summary:

Read about a legen… wait for it, and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the second half is
da(i)ry drinking binge, the appearance of the wiretap and dockside fighting beyond the link.

The Recap:

(This is a George P. Peclecanos episode, so be ready for all kinds of amazing…)

McNulty, wasted out of his brain, phones Elena and mumbles down the phone at her, he then stumbles over to the bar for last call, putting his hand on a woman to steady himself before asking for another drink. The barman (Gus) is concerned but McNulty promises that he’s getting a cab home.

He isn’t. The drunken Irish f**kwit drives his car off the road and into a bridge support post. He gets out to survey the damage before looking around, replaying the action in his head and then repeating it – sideswiping the car into pillar intentionally.

He then goes to a diner and ends up sitting there barely conscious, he asks for a coffee and the cute waitress asks about his hand, it’s “just a scratch” so McNulty orders some eggs. Later on he takes the waitress home and nails her.

The following morning he wakes up on the sheets, blood staining the sheet where he lays.


Cue the credits…

Horse is talking with Ziggy about Maui who’s standing nearby, they’re trying to pump up Ziggy enough to convince him to punch Maui, a man who’s probably fifty percent bigger than Ziggy.

At the Detail’s offices Daniels is formally letting the Detail know that the fourteen murders are officially part of the investigation now. Either they bring in the case or Daniels sinks. Lester then moves on to inform Ronnie that they have a drug connect via White Mike, which means that they should be able to get a wiretap up. Additionally they have links with Prop Joe, Nicky and Sergei “Boris” Molatov. Sergei’s calls also link to disappearing containers and to Nicky. It looks like the case is larger than Frank Sobotka, at long last. Ronnie confirms that they should be able to get a wiretap from all this.

Ziggy watches as Maui gets a frappachino and the dock workers once again bait him into going at Maui. This time Ziggy does, kidney punching Maui before the bigger man handles him, taking him up on a forklift before dumping Ziggy on the top of a container. Ziggy is less than pleased with this situation and rages impotently at the others.

Bunk arrives at the Detail’s office with a box, Herc notes that Bunk’s wearing a Lacrosse t-shirt and comments on it. Bunk is immediately defensive about this, asking why it’s odd that he played Lacrosse, mentioning Jim Brown as evidence. Lester baits him over this, asking if Bunk is really comparing himself to Jim Brown. Bunk blusters but is interrupted/saved by Daniels, for a moment, but then the Lieutenant dog piles on top of Bunk’s appearance – this time making fun of the fact that Bunk normally wears Pinstriped suits and that’s it.

Frank is with Horse who’s talking about Ziggy and the next shipment for the Greek. They discuss boob jobs a little, Horse can’t decide if he likes them or not.

Ronnie pours through the affidavit while Bea marvels at the quantity of paperwork involved in cases like this. While the spelling is awful, it’s all correct and they’re good to take it before a judge.

Ronnie, Lester and Kima meet with the Judge, while Herc and Carver get to perform chores for him. Will the humiliation for these two ever end?

Horseface continues to stare at the porn magazine while Frank calls about his phone, he finds out that his phone has been flagged. He then hangs up and wonders why they haven’t disconnected him. It’s because of the pending wiretap, but he doesn’t know that – yet.

Boadie and Poot are down in the pit, Pud tells them things are seriously slow. It’s hardly surprising business is so slow, they have no decent product to sell. They’re moved on by a rent-a-cop.

Bunk and McNulty are back down the railroad tracks talking and drinking. McNulty’s told Bunk about his epic bender and Bunk isn’t surprised. He moves over between the lines and urinates while they talk about the Detail. McNulty admits how desperate he is for a decent case, how being on the boat is killing him inside. Bunk tells McNulty to talk to Rawls, McNulty asks what the point is – Rawls has no reason to help out McNulty.

Frank is at home with his brother Lous (Nicky’s dad). He’s here to show Lou about a union space for him. Frank’s greased some wheels and gotten Lou a position which pays some money and gives him some authority. But Lou’s not happy taking it, he smells dirt on this position and he’s not comfortable with taking it. Lou prefers to remain clean and on the straight, he disapproves of Frank’s life decisions, but they’re family.

Ziggy catches up with a bird breeder Mr Diz and asks the title quote “Why don’t they fly away?” To which he’s replied “Their wings are clipped.” The man picks up a duck and Ziggy asks how much for it before buying it.

Bunk and Lester talk to Daniels about McNulty, Bunk admits how bad McNulty is, how much of a screw up he is without something to drive him. Without a case to run McNulty just self destructs, but with something to focus on he’s up there with the best of policemen.

Herc and Carver are busy creating the CI they claim has supplied them with the information, unable to use a real person they create a street lad named ‘Fuzzy Dunlop’, who is (as I mentioned last week) one of my favourite throwaway characters in The Wire. The lad is actually Herc’s cousin Bernard, but he’s not getting a penny for this and he wants ten percent, which eventually Herc agrees to.

Nicky hands over Ziggy’s cut in Nicky’s new car, Nicky suggests that Ziggy should get a new car and then they talk a little about Maui before Nicky’s phone rings. It’s one of the Greek’s men, Ziggy’s keen to meet him and go into business for himself. Ziggy doesn’t want Nicky’s handouts (which is how he perceives the money right now).

The wiretap is up and the old team (Lester and Prez) are back on the job, Prez notes that the dock workers aren’t as careful as the Barksdales were, Lester extrapolates that it’s because the dockers and the dealers don’t expect anyone to be wiretapping them.

Daniels is talking with Rawls about McNulty, Rawls isn’t willing to budge on this subject but Daniels is persistent about this, repeating his demand from when he took on the fourteen homicides - “What I need from you I get, no bullshit, no arguments.” Rawls baulks at this and is unwilling to shift, but a final push from Daniels makes the man crack and McNulty is back in the Detail.

Poot and Boadie are stood watching some new dealers who’ve moved in on their corners. They’re not sure where these new guys have come from, but it’s bad news as these guys are serving the Barksdale’s customers.

The phone rings for McNulty, it’s the lifeline he’s been waiting for. Daniels tells him he’s back in and the relief McNulty displays is so palpable he almost sinks to the ground. Daniels hangs up and looks at Criminal Informant #236 aka “Fuzzy Dunlop”. He’s a little incredulous about the name, and even more flabbergasted by the amount ($150). But he’s willing to trust Carver, who’d never pull another stunt would he? Would he? Of course he would!

Outside the office a jubilant Carver walks past Herc while Ronnie, Bunk and Kima talk about the girls and the potential links between prostitution and the docks. Beyond the stereotypical John using their services I mean.

Diggsy says his farewells to McNulty, while the nice weather might bring enjoyable encounters on the high seas McNulty is just thrilled to be back doing ‘proper policework’.

Boadie rolls in to talk with some of the Young ‘Uns. It seems that even the drug business can suffer from recessions and honest to goodness firings because Boadie has to give these two lads ‘the talk’ and leaves them with their “walking papers” – no separation pay.

Ronnie, Kima, Bunk, Daniels, Herc and Carver talk about the pan of action, the assumptions are that the drugs and girls are connected by the same people running them (correct), that the apartment building Kima and Prez scouted out is where the girls are kept (correct). They’re going to need someone to go undercover – Herc volunteers (surely not!) but Daniels feels they need someone with a more subtle touch. Carver volunteers but he’s considered unsuitable because he doesn’t look like he’d need to pay for sex (the implication here is that Herc does), Kima can’t do it due to domestic issues with Cheryl, likewise Bunk and Nadine. So that leaves the newly arrived McNulty, “Takes a whore to catch a whore.” To which there is only one, classic McNulty response…

“What the fuck did I do?”

Ziggy is in Dolores’s bar with his duck on a lead; he’s carrying a cane, wearing eye shielding glasses and he introduces the duck as his attorney “Steven L Miles”. The bar finds this riotous, Ziggy orders a drink for himself and Steven, while the other dock workers comment incredulously on the diamond collar Steven’s wearing. Steven starts drinking from a shot glass.

Outside the apartment where it’s suspected that the call girls are being held Kima and McNulty are waiting, they see the SUV Kima and Prez followed previously – same driver, same place – and follow it.

At the computers in the Detail’s office Bea notes that a suspect container ship is arriving soon, it’s the right company and Horseface is the checker. It looks like they’re a go-go.

The SUV pulls into a parking lot tailed by Kima and McNulty. The passenger in the SUC gets out and climbs into a car. The guy waits in the car, clearly a punter as McNulty explains (showing his experience at lying to his wife in the process) and then pulls out. But Kima’s car cuts the guy off and the two detectives climb out calling “police”, the man (Robert Johnson) looks guilty as sin – McNulty uses this as a handle to try and get in with the girls. Bob gives him the relevant details and the detectives let him go home. They have a way in now.

The Detail watches the computers as one of the cans disappears, Kima’s got eyes on it as Gas & Electric and she can see Sergei as he dials, Sergei’s conversation is short but indicates that the container does indeed have illegal goods in it.

Frank walks out of his office while this is happening, he sees Sergei hook up the can and then notices Kima while he lights his cigarette. He walks over to her while she passes on the information about the canister to Herc and Carver. They take over the follow. Frank himself ends up talking with a couple of port guards about a broken seal on a canister filled with diapers. He begins to walk away from them, but then turns and asks about Bea (who’s down at Fairfield, or at least that’s what she told him). Unfortunately the two cops tell him that Bea isn’t down at Fairfield and that she’s detailed to the city police. Another hint for Frank that something’s up.

Sergei and the truck roll past Herc and Carver while Kima drives off in the opposite direction.

Frank is back in his office talking with Horseface about Bea and the phone thing. Apparently there’s a second delivery for “Boris” due to come. Frank tells Horseface to check the can through clean and lose the second one instead – passing that one on to Sergei instead. He’s planning to set things up and check if the can is being tracked or not.

The Detail see a second can disappear, the truck has already returned to pick this up but they have no eyes there. McNulty offers to get there and Bea sets up a delay for the truck so he’ll have time.

Frank heads out of his office while McNulty heads there at speed.

A MPA officer holds up the truck while McNulty and Frank head towards it. McNulty sets up to follow while Frank notices the MPA holding the truck and can. As Sergei drives past, McNulty takes up the follow.

Frank, back in his office phones out, unfortunately for the Detail they don’t have a tap on this phone so they have no idea what he’s calling about. In the office Frank tells Vondras about the can being wrong and starts to explain. Frank tells Vondras that it’s time he gets to meet The Greek himself.

Double G is working in his shop, he talks with the staff behind the counter before walking out back to the freshly arrived can. The doors are opened and it’s full of plastic rods, Bobbie Dolls and nothing else. GG is annoyed and takes Sergei’s phone, calling Vondras, complaining about the can. Vondras tells GG to lose the can and not worry about it. The Detail have heard Vondras talk for the first time and assume he’s the boss man. Which is sort of true, except we know that The Greek is above Vondras.

Boadie is talking with some more of his crew, the plan is to roll in at 7am with bats and rough house the competition out. Poot is distracted through this by some women, Boadie takes him to case over this.

McNulty calls Daniels about the second can, it doesn’t add up because it went to the store and now it’s being dumped. Daniels tells him that the can is clean and that McNulty might as well go home.

Steven is at Dolores’s bar, entertaining the stevedores while Frank and Nicky talk business. It’s clear Frank’s explained his concerns to Nicky and that he confides in his nephew. Frank asks what’s with the duck and Nicky’s single word sums it up “Ziggy”.

The Detail are thrilled about the results from the clean can, McNulty asks if anyone wants to go for a drink, Lester declines but Bea accepts in exchange for a lift home. They leave, Lester continues to work.

At the bar Bea and McNulty swap stories about their children and exes, the real question here for myself is Bea’s answers – everything she says here about her ex is signalled as being fabricated or lies. Her body language and eye movement indicates it clearly, but that could just be Amy Ryan’s acting here – I’m not sure. McNulty jokes that his ex is dead and then refuses another drink when Gus brings it over. McNulty heads over to make a phone call, dialling the number Robert Johnson gave him. He has a conversation with Eve, while watching Bea at the bar.

Boadie stands on the corner, watching the new dealers who’ve stepped on his turf.

At Bea’s house she gets McNulty a beer before going to see her kids. He roots around a little, noticing a police man shaped cookie jar “Stop! Move away from the cookie jar!”, books, notes and pictures of her kids. He gets a bit of a feel for the situation before coming to a conclusion, he’s going to leave rather than try anything. Bea returns and catches McNulty putting on his jacket “long day” he explains and thanks her for the beer before leaving.

On the corner Boadie and Poot are already on the corner with their boys when the new guys arrive. They face off, Poot shows that he’s packing, but the guy refuses to back down without at least posturing a bit. Poot says that they’re going to come back and Boadies admits that of course they will, that’s the point behind this.

At the diner Frank and Nicky arrive to talk with The Greek, but they’re met by just Vondras. Frank isn’t happy with this and turns to leave. But the old man stands up and reveals himself. Nicky recognises him, he’s seen him in the diner before, but he’s a little stunned that this old man is The Greek. The Greek tells them to both sit down and talks with them. Frank goes on to explain his concerns; about the wiretaps, the phone company, Bea’s absence, the switch on the cans, the MPA stopping the can and even the line into the docking computers. The Greek tells him that it’ll be time to ship some clean cans to the warehouse and look legitimate. Nicky asks if they’ll still get paid the same, The Greek asks who Nicky is and then explains that it’ll have to be cost free. Frank is very aggressive about this, he needs the money for the union and legislation. The Greek agrees to pay them still, because it keeps things running. The Greek then advises that Frank should spend the money on something enjoyable before letting them leave…

The Review:

Hard to think that it’s the eight episode of the season isn’t it? It seems like things have only just begun to get rolling, but we’ve only got four more episodes left until this season is over (and I get to take a break for a couple of weeks before hitting season three – which I want to get out quickly instead of tailing behind Alan Sepinwall’s own excellent Wire posts by two days) – For the record, I read and loved his first season stuff but I’m avoiding reading his second season posts until I’ve finished my own, I don’t want to have his opinions colouring my own.

First of all, I can’t go anywhere without writing about what I feel are the quintessential McNulty scenes in this episode. The binge he heads out on is simultaneously epic, hilarious, awesome, but it’s also pathetic and pitiable at the same time. This is McNulty at the lowest he’s been since the series started – and let’s face it, this is a man who saw no problems in using his kids to front and follow Stringer Bell (another act which was simultaneously brilliant and monumentally stupid at the same time). It seems McNulty can’t ever manage to do something which is simply good, he always screws things up at the same time.

Apart from McNulty finally being let in on the action the other main events of this episode are Frank's sharp realisation that the police are still around and investigating, additional inroads into the prostitution side of things and Ziggy's duck Steven. Frankly I love that duck, it's actually part of the pun in the title - "Duck" and Cover, get it? It references the duck and the cover work that many characters in the show are pulling - not just the police, but also Boadie - who's covering his turf, Frank - who's covering his backside and the Greeks - who have just layers and layers to cover up their operation.

Frank's insistence to meet with The Greek has finally paid off, both he and Nicky have now met with him in person. I know why Frank's so keen to meet with The Greek, it's a pain to constantly talk through middle men, but he has to realise that it also means an extra level of danger for himself and his nephew. They're two people who can id The Greek, there's just a handful of people who can do that, so it's a dangerous place to be if things go wrong. Which they might do if the police get far enough in their investigation.

Ziggy's quote is chosen as the header for this episode mostly for the reply, it's a veiled reference not just to the various clipped birds but also as a descriptive term which covers so many people in the show - people trapped by the circumstances of their life, their institution or their choices - people with 'clipped wings' - and of course The Wire is jam packed with clipped individuals unable to soar, that's one of it's riding themes.

Four episodes left and a lot of ground to cover. Things are going to start moving fast.

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Now that's culture!

Category: By Rev/Views
It's a bit of a cop out post, but I really felt like sharing the pile of DVDs which has collected by my television.

Sometimes, the world of television is good.

Very good indeed.

Wire (Episode 8) post up later today, once I find the USB stick with it on.
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2009 Emmy Nominations

Category: , By Rev/Views
Actually I've come to realise there is something worth muttering about this evening. It'll be short but the Emmy nominations are worth a quick scan. I'm writing this as I look at them, so here we go.

Link to the nominations is here.

Outstanding Animated Program
Hum, nothing really amazing here. Surprised to see American Dad. Would like to see Robot Chicken take it.

Outstanding Art Direction For A Miniseries Or Movie

I genuinely hope Generation Kill takes this, but it would be nice to see Little Dorrit as well (that said, I still want Generation Kill to win).

Outstanding Art Direction For A Multi-Camera Series
Come on How I Met Your Mother!

Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series
As much as I adore Mad Men, I'd actually like to see Pushing Daisies take it, but it's probably not deserving - the nomination is enough.

Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series
This feels like either 30 Rock or The Office's.

Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series
A really tough category, but Mad Men genuinely has the best cast. Damages wasn't as good this year as the last.

Outstanding Casting For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special & Outstanding Cinematography For A Miniseries Or Movie
Just like a broken record - Generation Kill.

Outstanding Cinematography For Reality Programming

Outstanding Cinematography For A Half-Hour Series
I've always been amused that a 20 min show counts as a half hour series stateside. I don't really mind here, but what the heck is According to Jim doing there?

Outstanding Cinematography For A One Hour Series
This should be a two horse race between Breaking Bad and the frankly gorgeously shot Mad Men.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Another hot category.

Outstanding Costumes For A Series
Know what? I really liked the Pushing Daisies and No 1 Ladies Detective Agency costumes.

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
3 more for 30 Rock, looks like they're taking this one (and possibly sweeping everything, was this year's 30 Rock really that good?

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
BSG's last few moments dragged, Damages *makes so-so wavy hand motion*, so I guess it's between Boston Legal and Mad Men. I do hope BL takes it.

Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
GK again please Bob!

Outstanding Drama Series
Ok, as Billy over at Geeky Talk pointed out. Not a snifter of The Shield? Seriously, you let the weakest Dexter Season so far in and The Shield doesn't even get a nod? Ridiculous.

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series & Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series &
Nice nominations, can't really argue with most of them

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series & Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series
I do hope CCH Pounder wins her category, she's fantastic.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series & Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Hamm, Hall or Cranston please in drama, Baldwin in comedy.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series & Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
I will just about always root for Tina Fey, but I approve of most of the nominations in the comedy section. Not bothered about the drama bunch, but Glenn and Moss were both great this year.

Elsewhere (as it's getting late) I'd like to see the Sons of Anarchy theme win, HIMYM take the picture editing for 'Naked Man' which was just brilliantly done and Neil Patrick Harris MUST win best supporting actor in a comedy series.

Overall I think the nominations this year are better than last years, though the number of nominations 30 Rock received raises an eyebrow - then again, the cynic would not that Hollywood loves shows 'about the business' so it's not exactly a surprise. I am also pleased with the number of nominations Mad Men received but frankly incredulous that The Shield didn't get a single one, nadda, snatch. The Wire at least got a single nod last year but The Shield's final season was the best thing on this past TV year by a long margin. Eh, what can you do?

Go HIMYM (and NPH). Go Mad Men. Go Colbert Report. Go Generation Kill and I guess Go 30 Rock (but you don't really need me cheering you on at this point.)
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