Whilst work commitments and working on another project (which I intend to blog about later) have meant that The Wings of Aysh-Karal is currently on stall (I do hope to get another chapter up during the Christmas break) I have found some time to write which is good as I have had a massive itch to do just that. Since a small handful of people reacted positively to Super Lizard and I have lots of ideas for the characters I have decide to make a set of four more short stories. This is good on two levels for me, firstly it satisfies my writing itch and secondly it is a de-stresser. Where as TWOAK can be quite heavy at times and I need to keep meticulous notes to make sure there are no continuity errors and the story is moving where I want it to, Super Lizard allows me to just sit down and write. It gives me an opportunity to turn my hand to a bit of comedy which, although it is not amazing, I am a lot happier with than I thought I would be. Picking up straight after Super Lizard Begins, the first short story of the new series is now up, entitled Sequins and Spandex, and can be found under the collection name of Super Lizard Returns (yes I am using Batman titles!). Have a look for it on wattpad.
I am one of those of people who like a bit of sword and sorcery type stuff. One of my guilty pleasures is Merlin on BBC1. I can only describe it as rubbish but good. The acting isn’t the best, the scripts are sometimes poor and the special effects are not always up to scratch but there is something about it. That was until series 5. I spose I should mention a bit of a spoiler alert here, if you are not up to Series 5 Episode 11 then look away now! Anyhow, back to the plot. Each series of Merlin would drag out a bit with lots of one off stories then something big would happen at the end like finding out Morgana had magic or Uther being killed. Even when it was at its most draggy (is that a word?) it still kept my attention. Series 5, however, was starting to bore me. Yes we know that Arthur does not know Merlin has magic and Morgana wants to find out who Emrys is but with the other series we had an end point. We knew it was not too long before Morgana was discovered, we knew Uther would eventually die but now it feels like Merlin could hide for another five series before being discovered. I love that the plot moves on but it was all too slow. Any every episode was getting like Roadrunner, what new way will Morgana try to get Arthur off the throne and find out who Emrys is before being foiled in the last 10 minutes of the show. It was all getting to become repetitive boredom.
But then episode 11 came out of blue. Ok maybe I should have expected it as at the end of episode 1o Morgana sends a message of a faceless man that basically says ‘This Is War!’ I saw that, incorrectly, as a little ploy to keep people interested whilst many more series of ‘are they gonna find out…hehe!’ were made. But then came episode 11. What I love about this genius piece of work was not that Morgana finally finds out that Merlin is Emrys but the emotional journey it takes you on. The druid girl who is being tried not for magic as such but for trying to kill to King. The girl who won’t repent even thought I am shouting at the screen that the reason the Pendragons hate magic is that it always comes to attack them and not in a nice form. Can’t you see what you are doing girl?! Open your eyes, see the bigger picture….your just a puppet for Morgana!
It gets to the point where she is going to be hanged and Mordred is trying to get her freed. Then Arthur decides to give her another chance. Here we go, I think. She repents, Mordred is happy, Arthur and Mordred are friends, Merlin’s secret is safe. But oh no, oh no, she won’t repent. Stupid girl! She gets hanged, yes, she gets hanged on primetime BBC1! Well you don’t see it but you know what is happening. Then Mordred runs off to Morgana and tells her who Emyrs is. What I love about that is that he does it in a very X-Factor results way. Keeps you waiting. In your head you are thinking, he’s not gonna tell her is he. He is going to make her do something for him which will drag this out for another series. Then after the dramatic pause, he tells her Merlin is Emyrs.
Is it strange how gripping I found this? It seems now that TV studios are dragging out series just to hit us with a cracker of an episode right at the end. The same happened a few months ago with The Walking Dead season 2. It was getting a bit draggy then an episode that made you want to get up and shout at the TV, made you want to tell half the characters what fools they are being and to try to understand the difficult situations rulers, leaders and those with dark secrets are put in. Tell them that if they just have a look at the bigger picture they would understand! Safe to say, whilst I now seem to despise the middle of most TV series the endings are essential viewing. It is as if they are trying to comatose us with boredom to the point we are about to give up and then they go BAM! worth the wait, wasn’t it?! Well, it looks like I’m tied into another series of Merlin then!
As I move towards middle age (well I don’t really think 30 is middle-aged but go with me) I am become a fan of some more classic and mature entertainment. One person whose works I am getting excited about is Charles Dickens, I read Oliver Twist a few years back and loved it. Since then I have seen the TV version Great Expectations and some really good adaptations of A Christmas Carol (none as good as the Muppets though!), I also have A Tale of Two Cities sitting patiently on my shelf. So when a movie version of Great Expectations appeared in the cinema I jumped at the chance to watch it. I knew as I entered I would be comparing the TV version with Gillian Anderson to it. I think that is what started the film on a downer, I loved the actors in the TV version and the film version just didn’t add up. The biggest issue, however, was the speed of the piece. Anyone who has read a Dickens novel will know that there is so much happening that to fit it all in a two-hour movie is nigh on impossible. Where the TV version showed how Pip fell for Estella and how strange and wounded Miss Havisham has become the film seems to rush over this. The children only seemed to meet twice before he is paid off. Havisham as well, although well acted by Helen Bonham Carter, does not seem to have the ethereal bemusemen of Anderson’s. The end of the story seems somewhat rushed as well, suddenly Magwitch is discovered where as in the TV version the tension builds up. There are also differences in characters, the TV version dispenses with Pip’s teacher but has another blacksmith. Which is correct? I don’t know. All in all the movie is too rushed, I only understood some parts from seeing the TV version. Adding an extra hour to explain bits may help, particularly as there is the classic reveal at a few points in the film. The characters explaining their past with a fuzzy flash back. It falls into the lowest common denominator role making the audience feel as if they are too stupid to work things out for themselves. In all truth it was a disappointment, maybe if I hadn’t seen the TV version I would not have compared and really enjoyed the film, yet I think I would have come out confused. I think the only real answer is to grab the book and understand the complex layering of the story through Dickens words. I did read one review before going to see Great Expectations that said solid but not brilliant. I would utter those sentiments exactly.