Doctor Who: The Time of Angels

Category: , , , , By Rev/Views
Mirrored from my original review over at tvgeekarmy.com (here)


The Tenth Doctor episode "Blink" is widely regarded as the high point in the Russell T. Davies era of nu-Who. It's a tightly scripted stand alone story that barely features the Doctor, instead following the experiences of a young lass called Sally Sparrow and her struggles against four of the most terrifying creations to ever grace the screens of British television. The Weeping Angels they were called, statues that would come to life and move when no-one is looking at them.

In addition to tapping into a primal human fear, the episode also played with time in an expert fashion, had fantastic dialog and gave us a lead character who was instantly endearing, so much so that many people (myself included) are hoping to see Sally Sparrow back on our screens sometime.

Fast forward to the final Tenant season – the one before the four specials that brought us the end of the Tenth Doctor – and we have a Moffat two-part story called "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" that succeeded on two fronts. It was a tense and scary piece that once again reminded viewers that Doctor Who is a show about hiding behind the sofa while the action happens. It also introduced the character River Song, a mysterious woman who knew more about the Doctor than anyone else alive, but the Doctor had never met her before. In fact, as the story passed it became clear that this episode was the Doctor's first meeting with River Song and River's last meeting with the Doctor. This playing with the concept of time was another example of the extra level Moffat's writing brought to the show.

These three episodes are important because they set the background for this two-part story.

Now, before we start looking at the episode itself, it's time to talk about the elephant in the room and deal with the massive crime the BBC committed while the exciting episode cliff hanger was airing.

A picture paints a thousand words, so a short video must paint a million:


Fortunately most people won't have experienced that irritating piece of advertising. For those of you who don't want to spoil the end of the episode what happened was this: right at the tense and exciting end of the episode, an end which leads into the second part of the story, the BBC decided to cover the bottom of the screen with a brightly coloured cartoon Graham Norton. Now don't get me wrong, I rather like Mr Norton, but this piece of advertising ran completely against the mood of the episode and clearly undermines a scene that was quite brilliant.

Hopefully the BBC will learn from this mistake and won't repeat it. But we'll see, as they've been aggressively pushing their voting shows for quite some time now and I guess they want to pull in the Doctor Who demographic as well. Leaves me wondering if the actor playing the twelfth Doctor will be determined with a televised voting show; wouldn't that be an exciting piece of television?

Onto the episode itself...

Wow, just, wow. "Time of Angels" wasn't perfect, but it was pretty damn close, building on two of the best episodes from previous seasons which was quite a risk to take. Screwing it up would taint the other episodes to some extent as they would no longer stand alone. Likewise, bringing back the Weeping Angels was also a considerable chance to take, and I wasn't sure that they were suited for a return to the screen.

Let's go with the one weak point in the episode before we move on: River Song. Now I like the character, I quite like the time concept and I enjoy the coy way River keeps what she knows close to her chest. But I also found her quite irritating. Before, when Alex Kingston was acting opposite David Tenant, there was a bit of chemistry between them. There was something which instantly hinted at a connection between them, before even the plot and dialog took us there. Matt Smith on the other hand has absolutely no chemistry with Alex - this does work on one hand as he comes across as a young school boy afraid of the girl in his class who likes him. On the other hand The Doctor is at least a thousand years old and he does have a granddaughter, so it might just be fear of the future fuelling his actions.

Either way Matt and Alex don't work together on screen and that's a little disingenuous to experience. Still, it's the risk you take when you have one character that's reincarnated into an entirely new personality.

It's either that, or I just don't like Alex Kingston/River Song at all. I'm suspecting a little of both. I know I really disliked her handling of the TARDIS and the removal of the old landing noise. But I did enjoy the Doctor's indignant retort about how he likes that noise.

Onto the good stuff – pretty much the entire remainder of the episode. We have a fun bit that plays with the concept of time by having River leaving a message for the Doctor to find, knowing that eventually in his travels he will run into it. Then we're introduced to the religious military headed by Father Octavian. And we're off on a bug hunt.

The episode reminded me of Aliens, with a group of soldiers heading into a situation that turns out to be far more dangerous than they initially realised. I adore Aliens, it's one of my favourite movies, and The Time of Angels stands up alongside it quite well. It keeps the threat mostly out of sight, but that's the brilliance of the Weeping Angels, that they aren't a threat until they are out of sight.

The best moment in the episode occurs quite far in, when the Doctor is talking about the indigenous (and now extinct) native population of the planet, a pleasant race that all have two heads. The immediate understanding for the viewer comes – none of the statues have two heads – but realisation for the Doctor, Amy, River and the clerics comes slowly. As such, the moment where the Doctor realises that all of the statues are Weeping Angels contains a great deal of potency. Instead of being in there hunting one single Angel they are now trapped inside a mausoleum with hundreds or even thousands of Weeping Angels. That's the moment where everything really began to feel like Aliens "They're coming out of the God dam walls!"

I do feel that the cliff hanger at the end of the episode could have been edited a little better. I would have preferred a cut that ended with the Doctor shouting "Me" and pointing the gun upwards, having him actually fire the gun and seeing the impact on his target has revealed his escape plan already. I would have liked a week to speculate about it rather than be sitting here already able to predict how they'll escape.

Amy had a more prominent role throughout this episode, having time interacting with people other than the Doctor was great and it's now becoming clear that she's as weird as suggested in various interviews. I wasn't seeing it up until now. I still prefer Donna – she's my favourite of the nu-Who companions – but Amy has real potential.

The most important part of this story is the second part, now on one level the two part story has sort of failed. I'm not busy speculating on what's going to happen next week, but that's because the episode didn't end with the Doctor and the others in peril. It ended with them about to escape from peril. But on the other hand I have been begging for more two-part stories in the style of the original show and that's what "The Time of Angels" is. It is classic horror Who with a cast full of disposable characters and a nasty that's as unpleasant as it gets. It was exciting, it was tense, it was fun and it was full of greatness.

Depending on the second part next week this story could be one of the best we've had, it's certainly been set up well. If we were still in the Russell T. Davies era of Who I wouldn't be confident that the second part will be as good as the first. But we're not, and as such I feel confident in predicting that the second part will be even better.

Now we just have to wait for it... Darn.

Other Observations:

  • The initial external shots of the crashed ship were filmed in Southerndown beach - the same place was used in Army of Ghosts, Doomsday and Journey's End. It's one versatile beach!
  • If seeing an Angel and looking into its eyes has such a terrible effect on someone why wasn't Sally Sparrow harmed before? I can guess at the answers, but it's still a little piece of continuity that doesn't quite gel. Fortunately most other plot holes were explained away.

  • Direct Link
     


    Doctor Who, "Victory of the Daleks"

    Category: , By Rev/Views
    This is mirrored from the original post of my review over at tvgeekarmy.com

    Doctor Who is an iconic British television institution; the titular character has been through many different incarnations, aided many allies and faced countless foes. But the most iconic and haunting of all his enemies are, of course, those terrifying salt and pepper pots: the Daleks. Representing the worst of human nature, the urge to destroy anything which is different from the perceived norm of humanity, they are genocidal creatures which have faced the Doctor many times and survived.

    For me the two iconic Dalek stories from the first seven incarnations of the Doctor include "Remembrance of the Daleks," a seventh Doctor story that shattered the biggest protection a child hiding behind the sofa had. It gave us Daleks that were able to travel upstairs – something that was used with great effect in the ninth and tenth Doctor's encounters with them. The second story is none other than the fourth Doctor's six-part serial, "Genesis of the Daleks," which contains that defining moment of mercy on the Doctor's part, refusing to commit genocide and wipe out the Daleks even though it would save millions. Instead he spared them proclaiming that "out of their evil must come something good".

    Skip forward to the 2005 episode "Dalek" in which the Doctor encountered a single Dalek in a collection. It should remain relatively fresh in the memories of most people who saw it, so I think it'll suffice to say that it was one of the most potent episodes of the ninth Doctor's short time on the screens and the end of the episode made the eventual series reveal about the surviving Daleks a great deal stronger.

    The Daleks are as essential to Doctor Who as butter is to bread, so Eleven's first encounter with them needed to be memorable, strong and also avoid the terrible mistakes that occurred in the two-part episodes "Daleks in Manhattan"/"Evolution of the Daleks". Russell T. Davies had the Daleks limping from one encounter to the next, seemingly destroyed on several occasions, only to pull more of them out from his hat. Now, I'm not going to dispute the fact that the return of Davros in "The Stolen Earth" was a brilliant moment and was one of Rusty's better series-end stories, but he did have the Daleks seemingly wiped out time and time again. So much so that, if the British public didn't know that Doctor Who always means Daleks, you'd be forgiven for assuming that Journey's End presented us with the definitive end of them.

    Moffat has chosen to deal with this issue early in Eleventh's time on our screens, giving us "Victory of the Daleks" as the third episode of the series and effectively re-establishing the Daleks as a credible and serious threat to life, the universe and everything. But he goes further than that in the episode, and Mark Gatiss's script delivers everything you'd want from the episode and more besides.

    "Victory of the Daleks" was a fun and energetic episode that had huge helpings of goodness for us to consume. Starting with the wonderful Ian McNeice giving a great performance as Winston Spencer-Churchill and moving quickly forward, developing in an unexpected direction, one that I must admit I was a little surprised and delighted with. The story looked set to be one rotating around the dilemma of using Dalek-like machines called "Ironsides" as weapons against Nazis and it quickly revealed that they were in truth Daleks masquerading (the obvious reveal); but then the story went one twist further, revealing that the Daleks were doing this in order to lure the Doctor and bait him into providing a testimony, one that would allow them to use a progenitor and rebuild their race from the start.

    Once again Moffat shows his ability to steer the story in an unexpected direction and make it feel believable. In the series opener he gave us a Doctor with a plan, a back up plan and then another half dozen alternative contingency plans to work with. Now he's given us Daleks that are able to use the Doctor's predictability about certain things and turn it to their advantage.

    But he did more than that. In one fell swoop this episode rose up to match a past episode with a similar title ("X of the Daleks") and also took a huge step towards returning the Daleks to a more iconic appearance. Rusty's Daleks were a bronze (except when painted military green), busy affair; Moffat's new Daleks are a cleaner creation, coloured in a bright, solid and shiny style (available in a range of colours for the fashion conscious! Just like your phone!) that harkens back to the Daleks of the last century. Mind you, that's hardly surprising, I mean Moffat did write a Dalek into his 1990s relationship sitcom "Coupling". The man is an unashamed "Who-aphile" and we're all very fortunate he's at the helm of the show now.

    Matt Smith's performance as the Doctor continues to grow, but I did feel there were a few moments in this episode where he wasn't as solid as he had been in the previous two and he didn't deliver his dialog with as much conviction as he could have. Then again, he did face of against the Daleks while armed with nothing more than a Jammie Dodger and how can you not love someone who does that?

    Speaking of the Jammie Dodger, it was nice writing to have the Doctor improvising such an iconic and highly British biscuit as a detonation device in order to bluff the Daleks and encourage them to monolog their (relatively) evil plans to him. The audacity and inventiveness of the man knows no bounds!

    Likewise it was a great moment to have the newly created 'pure' Daleks kill the last of Russell's creations – wiping the slate clean and sending the Daleks forward ready for later confrontations. It was also a good touch to have them see through the biscuit bluff (which is what I'm going to now call any similar situation on television) and also have a plan which relied on the predictability of the Doctor's nature in order to escape and rebuild their race.

    "Victory of the Daleks" is an episode designed to acknowledge the past of the show while also setting things in place for the future. It was an episode that felt weighted in the history of Doctor Who without being overburdened by it.

    In short, it was a huge success as an episode and the best work Mark Gatiss has written for the show to date.

    Other observations:

  • OK, the "space Spitfires" were just ridiculous, but I still felt fantastic watching them make attack runs on the Dalek ship. And they were explained in a reasonable fashion within the context of the episode.

  • I really enjoyed the Daleks playing dumb in the early parts of the episode. It's a shame this one wasn't a two-parter as well because I just couldn't get tired of seeing Daleks carrying box files and cups of tea while mugging their innocence furiously.

  • Amy didn't have that much of a role in this one – there's too much history between the Doctor and the Daleks to give her much room. But she did have a strong moment at the end in the conversation between the Doctor and Bracewell. The Doctor attempted to connect with Bracewell via the medium of loss and sorrow, but Amy understood the situation better and was able to bring Bracewell to recall one of the strongest human experiences, unrequited love.

  • I like and appreciate the way that the episode bent viewer expectations, giving us a Dalek victory over the Doctor that was entirely complete, in an entirely unexpected manner.

  • I'm not sold on this 'cracks in the universe' metaplot. I didn't mind the 'why doesn't Amy remember the Daleks' exposition. But seeing the cracks at the end of each episode feels like the kind of obvious plot bludgeoning that Russell T. Davies used to employ.

  • Jammie Dodgers! iPod Daleks!

  • Direct Link
     


    We Need Girlfriends

    Category: , By Rev/Views
    This one may well be old hat to many of you, but recently I chanced upon the web series "We Need Girlfriends" and thought it was worthy of sharing.

    Trailer:



    It's a short 11 episode web based series about three housemates who've all come out of long term relationships and are struggling with their new single lives. Meet Rod (Evan Bass), Tom (Patrick Cohen) and Henry (Seth Kirschner).

    The series is a classic 'unpleasant friends' style sitcom penned by Steven Tsapelas - a man who cites The Office, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Seinfeld, Arrested Development and 30 Rock amongst his favourite shows - and these influences do show themselves in We Need Girlfriends. Especially IASiP, Seinfeld and Arrested Development; which are also all comedy shows involving unpleasant characters. Rod, Tom and Henry aren't as unredeemable as the characters in the above three shows; but there are echoes in each of them and that's something I really came to enjoy about the show.

    We Need Girlfriends is a much like a refreshing can of, I don't know, aged lemonade. It's sharp, bitter and has enough kick in it's small package to keep you running for the rest of the day. And with that terrible metaphor it's time to give you the first episode. It runs for just five minutes so there's really no excuse to not give it a try.



    Direct Link
     


    Treme: 101: "Do You Know What It Means?"

    Category: , , , By Rev/Views

    Ok, so I watched the first episode of Treme on Tuesday and I've pretty much spent the past few days thinking about what to make of it. I know from experience of previous David Simon pieces (The Corner, Generation Kill & The Wire) that the first episode of his works is going to be a slow build that throws you into a story that feels like it's already in progress.

    The Wire - Simon's 'head and shoulders above all else' show - was a show which took me exactly fourteen episodes to click with, until the start of the second season I was wading through a show with a dense plot and hard to understand dialog that occasionally was unbelievably brilliant and at other times real hard work to keep up with. Of course, I'm now at the point where I can pretty much name all of the minor bit part players by sight - thanks to repeated viewings and of course my Watching the Wire series (currently on hiatus).

    The first, and most important thing, is to immediately familiarise yourself with the characters. Lets face it, you're not going to get anywhere if you're only able to name the actors by either their own name or the names of the characters they've played in the past.

    So here's the core cast introduced in the first episode (HBO Page here):
    Ladonna Batiste-Williams - Khandi Alexander (Fran - The Corner)
    Toni Bernette - Melissa Leo (Kay Howard - Homicide: Life on the Street)
    Albert Lambreaux - Clarke Peters (Lester Freamon - The Wire)
    Antoine Batiste - Wendell Pierce (Bunk Mooreland - The Wire)
    Davis McArly - Steve Zahn (He's one of those guys you'll recognise without knowing where from)
    Creighton Bennet - John Goodman (The Big Lewbowski, amongst others)
    Annie - Lucia Micarelli (First appearance)
    Sonny - Michiel Huisman (De co-assistant, no I haven't heard of it either)
    Janette Desautel - Kim Dickens (Deadwood)
    Delmond Lambreaux - Rob Brown (Finding Forrester)

    If you're going to follow the series you'll need that list - I know I will, Simon doesn't give traditional character introductions, he just throws you in there and expects you to swim. Which, I must admit, was a little tough with Treme. There's no doubt already that it's a fantastic show that's going to bloom into a must watch for critics and culture vultures, but there's also no doubt that it's a show which is going to be inaccessible to many viewers. I'm OK with that, but it is a shame that so many viewers will miss out because they're unwilling to put the effort in.

    Treme is also a little bewildering at this stage because I don't know much about the city, the neighbourhood or the disaster. I know I can trust David Simon's writing to change all of that, he's an authentic storyteller with a real eye for enlightening and bringing home truths to the viewer.

    Until that point I'm just going to enjoy watching Clarke Peters dressed up as a Mardi Gras chieftain.


    Direct Link
     


    Doctor Who - "The Beast Within"

    By Rev/Views
    No full update here today. But you can read my review of Doctor Who's second episode over at TVGeekArmy.com

    It's located here.
    Direct Link
     


    DVDs in Review: #105: The Sopranos: Season Five

    Category: , , , By Rev/Views
    The fifth season of The Sopranos marks the moment where that legend of an actor Steve Buscemi (seriously, name something he's not good in) steps out from behind the camera and onto the screen. Taking the role of Tony Soprano's cousin Tony Blundetto. He'd been involved in the show previously - directing the episodes Pine Barrens and Everybody Hurts. Tony B's story is one of the major arcs of the fifth season, the man did grow up alongside Tony Soprano and, as it turns out, went to prison at least partially because of Tony S.

    Tony B's story is a pretty interesting one, for those of you who've seen the season before and need a refresher I do recommend the wikipedia article on it (here) - as long as no-one has amended it to mention that Tony B was in fact an intergalactic time traveller from Vogon 6 who came to Earth in order to determine the secret of making really good cheese. (Unlikely as, let's face it, Americans don't know how to make decent cheeses - they'd be better off snooping on the British or French). Tony B's story is also strengthened by Steve Buscemi's unholy Acting Talent, (did I mention how good Steve is in his performances? I did, well let's mention it again). Fortunately for The Sopranos the show is filled with accomplished actors providing charaters that are deep, meaningful and very real - so Steve's performance as Tony B fits into the show like Cinderella's foot in the glass slipper (such a daft fairy tale) - he doesn't overwhelm the plot, instead he remains a low key prescence who gradually grows, changes and becomes more significant in an entirely natural fashion.

    The rest of the season continues in the solid, real and above all else, brilliant style you should have come to expect from The Sopranos by now. Tony is dealing with his seperation from Carmella in the only way he can, by persuing Dr Melfi, Meadow and AJ are dealing with their parent's break up in their own ways. And Uncle June begins to show mild, early signs of Alzheimer's disease - which would be a tragic (if somewhat fitting) end for a man who lived a life that was pretty dispicable in the terms of normal society.

    The mounting tension between the New York families provides another thrust of season five's plot - the struggle naturally has a great deal of influence on the lives of the New Jersey crew as they (in essence) live in the shadow of the "New York Mobs". And when other events begin to strain the relationship between the two groups things really begin to break out.

    There's an awful lot to like about the fifth season of The Sopranos, it's on par with the fourth one in terms of quality and is a fantastic piece of television in it's own right.
    Direct Link
     


    TV Caricatures from Anthony Geoffroy

    Last week I posted a caricature of Horatio Cane and I wanted to show you some more of the Artist's work. His name is Anthony Geoffroy and his website is located at www.anthonygeoffroy.com (alternatively his deviant art page is here).

    His site is all flash, and I'm not a big fan of flash websites, they always feel clunky and like they're trying too hard, but his art is excellent and here are some of my favourites.



    Direct Link
     


    Saul Bass style opening credits for Lost

    Category: , , By Rev/Views
    I've always loved Saul Bass's style of opening credits, they're an essential element to classic films such as Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (amongst many others) and a huge stylistic influence on the opening credits for Mad Men.

    Well here's some opening credits for Lost in his style. Enjoy!

    (Mild spoilers for some well known plot elements contained within)




    Direct Link
     


    Films in Review: 2012

    Category: , , , , By Rev/Views
    I've never been sure what to make about the genre of disaster movies, on one hand they almost always represent a struggle of man against nature which often involves touching personal stories and a strong moral about 'man's folly in over-reaching the limitations of the natural world'. They are also spectacular to watch with special effects that often push the envelope of your expectations for film visuals.

    But on the other hand they feel rather twisted and a more than a little sociopathic as they always feature vast amounts of people being killed - often in ironic or unpleasant fashions. In some way they're almost the tamer, but genocidal version of the "torture-porn" genre - in as much as they have a great to offer someone who's just hoping to see a lot of people killed very quickly.


    2012 is one of the most recent disaster movies, based on the Mayan prediction that the world will end in 2012 - it well. Does. Some science mumbo-jumbo involving the sun essentially overboiling the Earth's core results in the crust destabilising and lots of eye friendly cracks occuring all across the globe.

    The story itself follows both the decisions of various world leaders - with the US President (adeptly played by Danny Glover - Predator 2) taking a major role in the movie - which is to be expected as he's the first world leader to be advised of the situation by the scientist Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor - Serenity).


    The personal aspect of the story follows one Jackson Curtis (John Cusack - Gross Point Blank), mild mannered a minor novellist turned limo driver. He's seperated from his wife (Amanda Peet - Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) who's dating a plastic surgeon (Thomas McCarthy - The Wire). From here I think you can pretty much figure out where his story is going to take him, and to be fair Cusack does well with the role he's been given - but the entire thing doesn't hang together well when it's the group isn't busy running away from the latest disaster.

    For myself the most enjoyable part was Woody Harrelson as paranoid (but correct) conspiracy theorist/pirate radio broadcaster Charlie Frost. Woody brought a level of enthusiasm and quality to the screen which lifted the story up for a while. I think a disaster movie based around his character would have been a fantastic prospect, and it's a shame he wasn't the central role.


    On the whole 2012 was a decent film, but it did feel a little hollow at times. It was visually a feast, filled with exciting moments set against a chaotic backdrop - but the core story felt just a little flat. It's certainly something you'll enjoy watching the once, but not a film which holds up to repeated viewing. I'd recommened it to disaster movie enthusiasts, CGI lovers and people who want to spend a couple of hours unwinding and watching something which is full of style but shallower on the substance.




    Direct Link
     


    Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour

    Category: , , By Rev/Views
    Available on the BBC iPlayer here.

    So Tennant is gone, likewise Russell T. Davies. One will be missed, but the other - not so much. The main question I'm sure most people will have had going into this evenings return of Doctor Who would most likely be "What's the Eleventh Doctor going to be like?".

    Honest truth of the matter, Matt Smith had some huge shoes to fill, following on from arguabley the best incarnation of the Doctor full stop. David Tennant brought an extra level to his portrayal which gave the Doctor more depth and humanity than ever before - he managed to surpass my personal favourite Doctor, the one I grew up with (the 7th - McCoy) and I feel really took the character to new places.

    I write all this in order to express just how huge a task Smith and Moffat had before them, they needed to open up with a memorable and fun episode which grabbed the viewer straight off and wiped the slate clean while acknowledging the epic performance which came before.

    Lets not mess about shall we? The story itself was pretty simple; aliens, a threat to the world, introduction to a new companion. It was classic Doctor Who boiled up from the old baby formula, but the entire piece was nothing short of fantastic. Matt Smith very rapidly settled into the role and gave an energetic, fun and above all else believable performance - pushing through early almost clown like moments with an endearing quality before developing into a Doctor you could like, believe in and most of all enjoy watching.

    Karen Gillan was likewise quite great, I'm sure that the series will develop her further as it progresses, she didn't have a lot to do other than be amazed and annoyed with the Doctor here. But she did do it well and I think she shows a lot of promise.

    Moffat's was everything you could have hoped for and more, weaving a fun introductory plot that mixed action and a personal story with the first hints at an overrarcing metaplot involving a 'silence'. It wasn't as deep as his work in the previous series, but it didn't need to be - it was instead sheer fun from the first moment to the last and had a lot of 'The Christmas Invasion' in it's flavour. Stating, here's the new Doctor, here's his companion, here's some fun, action and excitment. Enjoy!

    And I certainly did.

    I'm going to be following each episode in this series and writing about it either on the Saturday or the Sunday right afterwards. I also have the additional bonus of being a Cardiff resident and as such there are some areas I might recognise and be able to mention in a "Cardiff Who Spotter" section. Here's the first.

    Cardiff Who Spotter:
    The village of Leadworth is actually The Cathedral Green in Llandaff in some scenes.


    Direct Link
     


    Zoom, Rotate. Wait! Enhance that reflection!

    Category: , By Rev/Views


    One of my favourite things to mock in police procedural type shows (amongst others) is the old Hollywood standby of digital enhancement. The short YouTube video above is a great example of just how prevalent this trope actually is. It's almost as common as the dreaded 'Will They/Won't They' and it's pretty much the key mechanism used to drive the plot in Rising Sun (the quintessential "enhance that picture" story).

    I'd love to launch into a long rant about the ridiculousness of the trope, covering the hackneyed nature of it and the obvious crutch it provides for any CSI type show. Unfortunately I can't, because it turns out that technology can enhance pictures in this fashion, sharpening the image and using mathematical algorithms to fill in any blanks or blurred areas. So our dear friends in La-La land aren't as far off from the truth as we all thought (and hoped). Looks like fiction has predicted future technology once again.

    "To do that, the algorithm takes the incomplete image and starts trying to fill in the blank spaces with large blocks of color. If it sees a cluster of green pixels near one another, for instance, it might plunk down a big green rectangle that fills the space between them. If it sees a cluster of yellow pixels, it puts down a large yellow rectangle. In areas where different colors are interspersed, it puts down smaller and smaller rectangles or other shapes that fill the space between each color. It keeps doing that over and over. Eventually it ends up with an image made of the smallest possible combination of building blocks and whose 1 million pixels have all been filled in with colors.

    That image isn’t absolutely guaranteed to be the sparsest one or the exact image you were trying to reconstruct, but Cand├Ęs and Tao have shown mathematically that the chance of its being wrong is infinitesimally small. "

    You can read the full article here on Wired.

    It looks like you win this one Caruso!


    Direct Link
     


    End of Hiatus!

    Category: By Rev/Views
    I've moved home and I'm pretty settled, so Rev/Views will be starting up again on a thrice weekly basis. The initial plan of attack is to finish reviewing the rest of The Sopranos, look at the second seasons of Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad and then potter about reviewing various the other DVD sets that I have left to finish - including a look at 2012 which will be up either Monday or Wednesday next week.

    The third season of Watching The Wire will resume, I just don't know exactly when - perhaps when I'm not living in a room filled with boxes.

    This post is entirely full of the truth and not the least bit a joke, it's my protest about that rather lame tradition of April Fools.

    See you tomorrow!
    Direct Link