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Gimme Jimmy

When the BrBa spin-off was announced, everybody expected a Saul Goodman show, but with BCS, Vince Gilligan & Co gave us something else, something we didn't know we needed or even wanted to see: Jimmy McGill.

I'm so happy it went that way.  And when season 1 ran its course, the viewers and the writers were all saying "Gimme Jimmy".


That commercial was so tacky and corny, so over-the-top and colourful, quite announcing the flamboyant and shameless Saul Goodman...and yet the sequence itself was pure BSC, with Kim looking up, still hopeful and charmed by Jimmy's magic, and Jimmy being there next to her, watching his work, far from his commercial persona, and feeling upset and ashamed.

"Klick" was a fantastic finale for a brillant second season. Almost perfect.

Long and spoilery reviewCollapse )

BCS has become such a wonderful tv show. It's simply among the best. It is also, officially, my favourite spin-off in the history of spin-off shows. Yes I think it's superior to both Angel and Caprica.

ETA: I love this bit from an interview Sepinwall had with both Gould and Gilligan:

"VG: I love that humanity, and I miss that in Saul Goodman. It's going to be a tragedy, ultimately, that this man will inevitably calcify into Saul Goodman."

Clark's place

Here is a short review but still important because Arkady Ivanovich was actually in this episode!
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As promised...The Americans!

Spring break has begun, and I'm enjoying a lazy Sunday before resuming my thesis work and before entering Marking Hell. So here are my reviews of both "Chloramphenicol" and "Clark's Place", two terrific episodes of The Americans, which is still my favourite tv show, even though Better Call Saul is definitley becoming a serious challenger.

The Americans is so good in terms of writing, directing and acting...and "Chloramphenicol" was one of the best episodes the series had delievered. It deserves its own entry so I shall make a second post for "Clark's Place".
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Hectic

I've been super busy for 8 days, teaching, marking, marching against the government, and catching up with old friends from Nice, who were on holidays in Paris and whom I hadn't seen for 13 years. So I couldn't post about my two current favourite tv shows, Better Call Saul and The Americans. Yet last week was terrific on that front. I watched the latter first because I could feel something big had happened and I didn't want to be spoiled, and I finally got around to seeing BCS on Sunday.

I owe The Americans a proprer post, but for now I'm focusing on BCS since I've just watched yesterday's episode, so both "Fifi" and "Nailed" are still fresh on my mind.

Every week I think, "that's it, this is the best BCS episode ", but every week the show outdoes itself, and this week was simply perfection. And Kim and Ignacio are still the best!

Last week, BCS could compare to BrBa's cinematic glory, paying homage to Orson Welles with a terrific one-shot opening sequence that everybody connected to the famous tracking shot at the beginning of "Touch of evil". This week the opening scene was pure BrBa, the shots of the  Regalo helado truck reviving the ones of the RV that Walter White frantically drove at the beginning of the BrBa premiere.
FifiCollapse )

"Nailed" was even better.

NailedCollapse )


And because I can't stop singing "Mi cucu" in my head:



ETA: And a very happy birthday to bleodswean !

ETA2: I've just read Sepinwall's review in which he reveals the title of next episode, season's finale, which is written and directed by Vince Gilligan himself.

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Updating

I need to write a proper The Americans post, but I can't do it right now. Maybe tomorrow.

I spend the Easter weekend and today (which is my day off), eating chocolate, cooking, visiting my mother, eating chocolate, watching tv shows, marking papers and eating chocolate. The mediocre (actually vergering on bad) tv shows, I won't talk about. There's little point in saying how poorly written and ridiculous they are and why I keep watching them nonetheless. So I will only mention the good ones.

I loved Daredevil last year but, after the first couple of episodes, I wasn't sure about this second season...and then came episode 3 and the stairway scene which was just WOW!!!! That third episode reminded me the reason I liked Daredevil much more than Jessica Jones.

But I'm still mourning Charlie Cox's hair chest (yes I still remember it from Boardwalk Empire)...and Wesley.

Also, Better Call Saul continues to make my week, every Tuesday.

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Back

No Marking Hell this week, but several term class meetings after teaching so I didn't get back to home before 8 pm at best. I still managed to go to the movies on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, and saw Triple 9 and Room. I also managed to binge watch the second season of Bosch, watch the first two episodes of Peaky Blinders ' second season on ARTE, and, finally, I watched The Americans yesterday in the afternoon!

I went to see Triple 9 without expecting much from it, but as thrillers/cop movies go it wasn't so bad, and apart from a few movie stars – Chiwetel Ejiofor who played the lead (my main reason for seeing the film), Kate Winslet, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson –, the film was filled with familiar faces from tv series, who played minor parts: Aaron Paul (whose character was very close to Jesse Pinkman), Norman Reedus (who just looked the way he does in The Walking Dead) and Michael Kenneth Williams (far from Omar or Chalky for he appeared as a drag queen!). It was well directed and I liked the idea of crooked cops forming a gang among other gangs, but eventually the film shied away from being really dark and subversive.

Dirty cops were also a big storyline on Bosch 's second season. I don't think I mentioned the first season here, because I wasn't super convinced by it. First, as much as I liked Titus Welliver in Deadwood, I never pictured the Harry Bosch from Michael Connelly's novels in that way. Bosch is supposed to be taller, bulker and, above all, much darker. He's a lone wolf with shark eyes. Welliver's green eyes and smile made Bosch way too charming and sociable. I was annoyed that Bosch's appartment lacked the reproduction of The Garden of Earthly Delights, that is yet such a big deal in Bosch novels, since his mother named him Hieronymous Bosch because of that painting. They also updated stuff and mashed several stories up in a way that was sometimes inelegant. The second season is much better written though. I finally accepted that Bosch. Welliver is a good actor and I was pleased to have Lance Reddick's character get more screen time. I have always loved Lance Reddick in anything (OZ, The Wire, FRINGE) anyway. Oh and it doesn't hurt that Jerry Edgar is played by the actor who was Marlo on The Wire either!

As for Room, I like the first 2/3 of the film, that took place in the eponymous room, but the rest was disappointing in terms of writing (but I guess faithfull to the best-selling novel it is based on) and direction, despite Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay being still excellent until the last moment.

What can I say about The Americans, except that I'm so happy they are back?! Everybody has already pointed out the main metaphor that opened this fourth season with "Glanders" –[Spoiler (click to open)]our spies' job of "getting people to trust you" as Elisabeth put it, is just another way to carry on the contagion, and Stan could have become an unaware vector in the last scene with Philip, also there are actually many deadly biological/bacteriological-weapons on the show (Misha became one rather earlier than we thought paving the way for killing agent Philip, Martha and Paige are both like the fragile vial who could released the most instable dreadful danger if it broke, and there's Pastor Tim whose knowledge could spill out)–, and the terrific performance from Alison Wright (her reading of  "Oh no, oh no" was everything). I know that Keri Russel is the "star", but it's more and more obvious that Alison Wright is the best actress on the show. Of course, Matthew Rhys was brillant, as usual.

Not enough Arkady Ivanovich in this first episode of season 4, but he keeps being his amazing self every time he's on screen. Really, who wouldn't want to have tea and cookies with the Rezident?

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Now I leave you with this great cover of Black's most famous song:

I save me

I was a fool to even consider not watching Better Call Saul when it was announced they would be making a BrBa spin-off. The show proved itself in its first season and became wonderful in its second one.

Of course it is less flamboyant and daring than Breaking Bad was. Everything is toned down, in a way, as if the colour of the show, or its tonality, were matching its lead character's journey. In other words, Jimmy McGill is not Walter White. And yet BCS can be funny (not in the extreme dark humour way BrBa was) and extremely touching, poignant even. Nothing will ever replace Walt/Jesse in my heart, but the messed-up sibling relationship between Jimmy and Chuck is just marvellous...and there's Kim, who already won me over last season, and has become such an important part of the show. She's the Hank of this show, the hero. I hope she won't meet the same fate.

"Rebecca" was another great episode, in which Kim broke my heart again. BTW, Donna Bowman wrote a terrific review, as usual.
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As much as I am not the biggest fan of Mike, and I could do with more Jimmy and less Mike, I enjoy seeing BrBa characters popping up in Mike's storyline.

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Addio professore, e grazie mille

Umberto Eco died last night.



After David Bowie, cancer killed another personal hero of mine.

Poor Italy, losing the great Umberto Eco and still plagued with the likes of Berlusconi. Poor old continent of ours, wherein the cynical and the hateful voices rule while this true humanist goes quiet for ever.

Eco's books have been with me for decades. I own most of his essays on literature, and all his novels. I read Borges before I read any book by Umberto Eco, but when I read The Name of the Rose, I recognized a fellow reader in him, and a bright and mischievous mind.

Not sure I would have spent so many years working on an inquisitor from the 15th century, for my thesis, if I had not read The Name of the Rose when I was only 15. Funnily enough, I only start re-reading it a couple of weeks ago. I thought it would be interesting to see if I still enjoyed the novel with my medievalist eye. Of course, now I understand stuff that went totally beyond my head the first time, and I see the tricks Eco used to recreate the theological discussions. I can picture the folders he had on various topics, the quotations he borrowed from medieval authors. But it doesn't change the fact that his storytelling is a lot of fun. I think I didn't quite perceive that fun when I read it in the 80's.

Umberto Eco was erudite and clever but, above all, he was a playful writer. Not all of his novels work, but I'm sure he had fun writing all of them. Even his essays are highly entertaining. My favourite remains Six walks in the ficitonal woods. He just had fun sharing his knowledge, passing his ideas and discoveries about the meaning of words and the wonders of storytelling. He was not the best stylist, nor was he the best novelist, but he was a true professore.




Be curious, enjoy books, question everything you read and hear....but do it with your reason and your heart.

Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomida nuda tenemus.

Slippin’ Jimmy was there...

The second season of Better Call Saul premiered on Monday and it was nearly perfect (I agree with Sepinwall about one little cheating device at the beginning of the episode).

I love Jimmy and Kim together so much that I want to write Jimmy/Kim 4EVER and draw hearts (or toothbrushes) around it! And yet, from what we know about the future, their relationship is a doomed one.

Anyway, Donna Bowman's review of "Switch" was spot-on, as usual, so go and read it, people!

4 weeks to go!

I can't wait! Methinks pastor Tim is in dire straits...

And this extended promo even has Arkady Ivanovich speaking Russian!



In the mean time, Jimmy is back as Better Call Saul premieres tonight.

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