music friday: elvis' greatest shit
outlander, series premiere

catching up: manhattan and the honourable woman

Manhattan is a fictionalized tale about the Manhattan Project that resulted in the atomic bomb. It’s a series from WGN America, and to be honest, that’s the most interesting thing about it. WGN is/was a station out of Chicago that went national as a “superstation” in the late-70s. They have only recently begun creating original series … Manhattan is the second. I’ve seen the pilot (which means I’m an episode behind … things happen when your wife is away for a week). I’ll give it a second chance, but there’s not much here so far. The direction by Thomas Schlamme in the pilot was iconic in that Schlamme “walk and talk” way. It’s always nice to see Olivia Williams, although my first impression is that women aren’t going to play a big part in the goings on. That it has taken me a week and a half to come up with a paragraph to say about it tells you just about everything.

The Honourable Woman looks much more promising. It’s a spy thriller created by Hugo Blick, a well-known-in-England TV producer, and there’s a big part for Maggie Gyllenhaal as the titular Woman, which in itself was enough to get me watching. There’s a timely Middle East angle to the plot … it remains to be seen whether this will ultimately be a positive or a negative.

The truth is, this is mostly a placeholder. The one new series I’m really excited about is Outlander, but I’ll save that for a separate post because one, I haven’t watched the pilot yet, and two, there is more than a paragraph to say about it. Suffice to say, it comes from Ron Moore, who since Battlestar Galactica has teased us with interesting but flawed series like Caprica and Helix. I’m expecting Outlander to top those. Also, the show is based on a popular series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, which I haven’t read, but which should create an instant audience.