Mind you, I brought this largely upon myself, being up late, very late, very early in fact, watching telly, despite having done the happy dvd box set dance of FU to the evil tv stations and their cut up episodes and haphazard programming.
Well, I got home late anyways, then I had to make sure EC9 was, or was not, in fact, going to play another sliced and diced episode of Rome. Trust them, I do not (I still haven't forgiven them over an incident involving Cadfael, though I now have that on dvd too, fie on you, EvilChannelNine). So, there I was, cuppa in hand, Titus on screen. Bliss. Or truncated bliss as poor Titus suffered at the wretched hands of the man with the scissors again, though less so than poor Mark who has been reduced to standing around in background shots like an extra.
The most glaring excision was the very scene I'd been talking about yesterday, with a very brief depiction of Titus squirming and bleeding on Lucius' kitchen table, and not at all the stomach churning bloody insight into the inner workings of said Titus Pullo. Also cut, sadly, was the scene where Lucius pays off the doctor for the financially crippling home visit and the blasé advice to wait for Titus to live, die, erupt with pus and the helpful suggestion of sacrificing a rabbit (thus giving a new and different meaning to the old phrase "the rabbit died").
No wonder Niobe gets a bit ratty over Titus, as the big lunk's medical bills are eating rather sharply into the housekeeping. She seems to warm to him very quickly, though. Poor Titus. Suddenly he's a marriage counsellor to a very effed up marriage.
So there was a bit of stewing from me over missing favourite bits. Of course, that's the last of Rome as far as EC9 is concerned, and thus we depart with Lucius re-established in the bedroom thanks to Dr Pullo's advice, and Titus himself with $$ in his eyes as he's just found the treasury on the hoof.
A pause for a bit of comatose Tony Soprano and his crazy dreamworld. Lookit, another comatose chap having weird, realistic dreams with odd portents. That's like, soooo 2005.
Then, because I needed a La Bamber fix, some Galactica on slightly less evil Channel Ten. It's been a while, nay, a year, since I last saw this episode, so I wasn't acutely aware of cuts until the clunky cut of a large chunk towards the end ("And then I said now we can all get some sleep"), but as Mr Scissors over at Ten seemed to prefer losing bits of soon to be significant plot over pointless scenes with Mr Bamber posing very, very nicely in a singlet, I've not much to complain about - heh. Oh yes, how easily I am bought, but Jamie was looking very, very nice and I felt I had to give him due attention for the obvious efforts he'd devoted in the gym. Certainly he was never that ripped in Peak Practice - grin. At least, not that I noticed.
It wasn't wasn't much of a story driven episode anyway. Bad Cylon computer virus is making all the systems go all HAL on them, blah blah blah. Just show me Jamie in a singlet. Ah, now that's the shot.
After that there was some classic Trek. Sadly only Catspaw, but I'm weirdly enjoying ye olde Trek at the moment, so I was happy to watch. Watch the boys set up the template for buddy shows for years to come. Wince at plot. Point and laugh at Spock's VPL from the dusty styrofoam sets. CGI Trek? No thanks. Give me squeaky styrofoam anyday.
Oh yes, one more. I managed a quick squiz at the episode of Silent Witness I'd taped during the day. Written by Ashley Pharoah no less, all about a death in custody and featuring a younger and dare I say thinner Philip Glenister. The early scenes were very proto-Guv, one could almost consider it an audition reel, but after the initial bluster he turned out to be a very nasty and mixed up fellow. There was a nice meltdown scene at the end, but while Phil can hold his own in brooding and being a mad, hard bastard, I think John wins in the wailing and gnashing and flailing categories. Phil is much more effective when he does that quiet anger of his. Never mind. Such pretty eyes, even when he's being nasty.
Btw, I still haven't had a chance to indulge in the Bulshitters, but I must finally comment on some early thoughts I had about Life on Mars, upon first viewing, even, and that's how Gene Hunt is an obvious graduate of the School For TV Tough Guys. I mean, check out the Cortina: vinyl roof. Nor does he ever waste precious film time with the old click-clack. No sir. Hee. Mind you, Sam seems to have achieved an A+ in mirror acting - snerk.
And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you really must beg, borrow or steal a copy of The Bullshitters, and Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown. Trust me on this.
And now, in the interests of fairness and balance, why Sam is a sweetheart and how Gene is a screw up.
Sam can be sweet, kind, gentle and funny and even affectionate. The trouble, as far as I can see, is that he doesn't let these qualities out of the box often enough. Quibbles aside, including his brush offs of Annie and the whole icky Oedipal thing, Sam can be very friendly when he's not overly fussed about what's right and proper (ie when he's tearing around with a bug up his arse). Gene is the recipient of the bulk of the happy Sam moments (and don't I just love that). I just love the casual way Sam just thumps the bacon sandwich on Gene's chest in episode three. Here, clearly, are two men very much at ease with each other (food handling being an intimate and bond building expression of social closeness, afterall).
Sam is a bright boy, and he's obviously kept up with all his reading, and I wonder if he's ever regetted not going to uni, or how many courses he might have done elsewhere, since he went straight into the police at 19. Certainly Sam's intelligence has risen him to the heights of DCI, and it must have helped him think around suspects as much in the 21stC as the 20th, despite all the outside interference. I think Gene overlooks a lot of Sam's oddness because of the clever ways Sam brings to the team (though Sam is cheating a bit with all his steampunk tricks). Gay Boy Science Rules OK.
Sam is a stickler for following the rules and doing things the right way (as much as he complained about being straitjacketed by them in '06). A much as this pedantry really gets on everyone elses' tits at times, Gene at least recognises that there is a role for a concientious fellow in CID, ensuring all the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed. I should say that Gene's CID could probably be the only team in the country that could weather a sudden audit with any sort of dignity since Sam's arrival. Certainly there are no more police verbals as taping interviews has become common practice.
Sam is damn sexy. 'Nuff said.
Gene, meanwhile, no doubt brutalised by years on the hard streets of Manchester, tends to reach too readily for a bit of the old violence when dealing with suspects. Cynicism and bitter experience has probably left Gene in no doubt that decent law abiding folk never end up in the Lost and Found office, and he's pretty much right. Also, how much of a bluff front the whole bad cop schtick is, well, it's really hard to guage, cunning old cove that Gene is. I suspect that hard bastard shell, though much may be innate, a lot of it was also acquired as a means of defence.
In fact all the ballsy bluster rather obscures the fact that for most of the time Gene is always hanging back and watching and waiting before acting, even right from the very start: Sam gets in a good amount of rant before Gene has him pinned to the filing cabinet. Perfect predator, our Gene. Or rather/hunter/warrior/protector. He's old school. Seriously old school.
But, um, yes, his flaws. Well, I'm not going to bother with the fags, booze, birds and bacon sangers because that's just imposing curent codes of practice on past behaviour and that's both unfair and unreasonable. Gene's a Seventies guy and he is what he is (and I love him for it, 'cause I loathe yoghurt eating detectives). I love a man with appetites.
Um, yes, flaws? He's not even all that sexist, imho, but I am from Oz, so it's probably an antipodean perversion that finds Gene almost a paragon of gentlemanly behaviour (and if you think I'm kidding, go and read Mark Latham's latest comments).
Gene's fashion sense would be too easy a hit as well. Though, those shoes...
Okay, how about corruption? That's bad, but while Sam can only see the black and white accounting, Gene sees the larger picture in various shades. The whole Warren thing was very much a case of better the devil you know, an uneasy truce that at least kept the peace and kept Gene knowing who all the players were. As Gene tried to teach Sam, stirring shit up just stirs shit up, and Sam is indirectly responsible for a lot of serious crime afterwards (the murder of Joni, the violent robberies, car chases and murders in episode 8 as Vic Tyler claws his way to the top of the heap).
Not to defend Gene, but he had his reasons, and it's interesting to note that Gene took his first backhander at 19, while Sam was 37. I wonder if Sam had ever been offered a bribe before, or if he ever was in a situation to turn a blind eye or catch a whiff of corruption, because surely the police can't be as squeaky clean as he protests they are. Perhaps Sam's reputation as a stickler and a squealer preceded him and he was just never left near anything even slightly dodgy (and I'm thinking of last night's Silent Witness here, as well as other things).
Btw, as much as I might joke about LOM, or how my local cop shop fares (oddly, for years, directly across the road from the pub that served as the major heroin distribution point in the city), when a young copper committed suicide on the oval several years back, it ceased being quite so funny. Just an aside to let you know I do take this stuff a tad more seriously in the real world.
But back to Sam's world.
Gene's driving? Again, I'm a westie, for my sins, and I find his hooning about mild by comparison. You know, I don't think I'm best qualified to catalogue Gene's flaws, as most of the guys where I live still carry on like that. Yes, somewhere in the world, it's still 1973.
Okay, how about Gene's temper? Quick to it, he is. And nasty, too. And his rather firm corrections of Sam appear somewhat brutal by our standards (but I remember back then my Dad was free to kick me down the stairs and it was his business). It's a definite flaw, though, and it gets him both in and out of trouble.
Complete lack of tact is another one, though again, how much that is just a put on is hard to discern, because Gene could never make DCI, especially in the days of favours, without a certain degree of political charm and the nouse to know when to keep his mouth shut. He's mouthy to Rathbone, but a lot more circumspect than he is to those under him or being questioned by him.
I could never say that Gene didn't have a heart. He's loyal, protective, and makes several somewhat rebuffed offers of friendship to Sam before they finally settle themselves at the end of episode two. Oh, that look - swoon, sigh.
Gene is also clever, and damn funny. And one giant explosion of animal magnetism.
What do you think?
Ack. Now there's a hazard of outdoor dunnies that I'd completely forgotten about, but shouldn't have, because they even wrote a song about it: Redback on the Toilet Seat.
Fan video: Rome - Addicted
Is that another claret I see before me?
Redback On The Toilet Seat (1972)
Writing: The Freelane #3
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