The Quest For Monday! Part 50: The Power Of Symbols

(Episode: “Shadow of the Condor”)

Synopsis: You know those horror movies with people stranded at the house of a madman and forced to compete in strange ways for survival? Well, here’s the Quest version:  Race Bannon is in the sights of Snoopy’s old foe, a WWI flying ace, and Bandit is in the sights of a horrific owl-eating condor. Not a Peanuts/JQ crossover, sadly, but there is a dachshund named Wili.

Tip 50: The right environment is important.

It can stray into superstition, but sometimes you just need your enemies to do a little cosplay for you.

Dashing! And creepy!
Dashing! And creepy!

Of course, your enemies could also set the scene by stealing your good-luck wiener dog.

"If we steal Snoopy, the Baron can't fight? Which Peanuts special was this?"
“Which Peanuts special was this again?”

Alternately, think of this as two scenes from The Quest For Monday!’s 50th Installment Gala.

 

Next time: We kick off a theme month! Watch this space on Wednesday…

Next time on TQfM!: Up in the air. Honest. That’s where our post is going.

Finally! Friday: Moonlight (2007)

Why Finally? A few weeks ago, we covered a vampire detective I didn’t like—and I have to say I enjoy (for a given value of that word) watching Forever Knight far more now that I go into it knowing I’m going to mock it. A very silly weight has been lifted.

My hunt is still on for that TV equivalent of The Vampire Files’ Jack Fleming, though, so I thought I’d check out Moonlight, which ran for one season in 2007.

The Premise: Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin) is a relatively recent vampire; he was a hard-boiled ’50s PI who fell in love and got vamped on his wedding night. This would make a great opportunity for a Moonlight/Highlander: End Game-based crossover where Mick and Duncan MacLeod’s ex bond in some kind of group therapy, but instead Mick is still being absurdly cute solving crimes.

Or, as in this scene, doing both.
Or, as in this scene, both.

One investigation brings him into contact with a reporter named Beth (Sophia Myles), whose life Mick saved from his ex when Beth was a child, and a relationship begins to bloom. Between fanged villains and Beth’s Lois Lane-like talent for finding trouble and running toward it at high speed, it’s a (un)life of adventure.

You know I love a good case-of-the-week show, but it turns out I still hate internecine vampire politics, so Moonlight occasionally became hard going. The series also plays around with the idea of a cure for vampirism, one of my pet peeves. (I don’t know why it should be, but from the Dark Shadows revival to the romance novels I read as a teenager, I’ve never really clicked with the concept.) Mick is a great character, but I didn’t really like Moonlight itself enough to stick with it.

The Verdict: I honestly wonder if this one might be me; perhaps I’m just in the wrong mood at this point in time. There were a lot of good moments in Moonlight, but they just didn’t add up quite right. I may revisit this in a year or two and see if I find it easier to get into.

Someday, though,  it’ll happen: the thing I’m looking for will get made—heck, maybe someone will put the actual Vampire Files on a screen of some size—and when it does, I’ll be nodding and grinning and thinking “Perfect. A little bit X-Files, a little bit Remington Steele, and a little bit Moonlight.” But this show by itself doesn’t seem to be it.

To put it in perspective with other recent reviews here at the Omelet, while Mick is no Mildred Heavewater, neither is he a Nick Knight (thank god).

Might go well with: A nice glass of whatever you like to drink. May want to err on the side of intoxicant.

(Note: some of the roles were recast after the pilot, so the trailer differs from the actual show. On the other hand, the “absurdly cute” quotient is strong.)

 

 

The Quest For Monday! Part 49: The Upper Middle of Nowhere

[Okay, I admit it: the fact that part of the outside world seems to be putting on a remake of “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” with no sign of stopping threw a monkey wrench into the Omelet for a few weeks. (Hm, that metaphor went off the rails. As did that one, really.) Anyway, service is restored. Welcome back.]

(Episode: “Shadow of the Condor”)

Synopsis: You know those horror movies with people stranded at the house of a madman and forced to compete in strange ways for survival? Well, here’s the Questy version:  Race Bannon is in the sights of Snoopy’s old foe, a WWI flying ace, and Bandit is in the sights of a horrific owl-eating condor. Not a Peanuts/JQ crossover, sadly, but there is a wiener dog named Wili.

 

Tip 49: As they say, “Location, location, location.”

...Preferably not THIS location!
…Preferably not THIS location!
That's better.
That’s better.

 

Next time: That review of 2007 TV series Moonlight really exists and will be coming out— as will a brief look at The Conjuring, as soon as I can bring myself to grab a screencap of Annabelle. (I wish I was kidding. Being a nervous/squeamish horror fan has its unique challenges.)

Next time on TQfM!: Clothes make the plan.

The Quest For Monday! Part 48: Catching Some Wild, Probably Dangerous Zs

(Episode: “Shadow of the Condor”)

Synopsis: You know those horror movies with a group of people stranded at the house of a delusional madman and forced to compete in strange ways for survival? Well,  Jonny Quest has one too;  Race Bannon is in the sights of Snoopy’s old foe, a WWI flying ace, and Bandit is in the sights of a horrific owl-eating condor. Not a Peanuts/JQ crossover, sadly, but there is a wiener dog named Wili.

Tip 48: Refresh yourself.

Think of your typical day: pushing papers, fighting goblins, building killer robots, maybe even proofreading. Whatever it is, you’ll do it better if you’re well-rested.

I assume these are official Special Forces PJs...or maybe just some of that performance sleepwear I've been reading about.
I assume these are official Special Forces PJs…or maybe just some of that performance sleepwear I’ve been reading about.

Sweet dreams…

 

bqwhoindeed

Never mind.

 

Next time: I plan to review 2007 TV series Moonlight, whether I manage to finish watching Season the Only by Friday or not.

Next time on TQfM!: It’s up in the air, literally.

Finally! Friday: Murder With Monsters by K.T. Katzmann

(I’d like to say I’m kicking off a spooky theme for October, but this differs from my usual Friday how? Also, I’ve never reviewed anything by someone I follow on Twitter before, so I’m a bit nervous: this plays into my twin fears that 1) people will never read this site and 2) holy crap, people might be reading this site. Anyway…)

Why Finally? After lots of eager reading, a few years ago I found myself no longer enthused about paranormal books—and just when the genre and its assorted subsections really took off, too. Part of this might add up to some hipster suspicion of “things other people like,” but really, why did I stall out on the fifth book of  more than one series?

Eventually I decided it had to be the multiple mythical creatures. I’ve been reading books about only ghosts, only vampires, and the like since childhood and never getting tired of them, but when you have enough monsters running around that you need interspecies politics and logistics, my interest wanes like a werewolf’s light source. That makes sense, right? Question answered!

So along came K.T. Katzmann’s Murder With Monsters and its whole monster manual of characters to prove that, like that guy on Game of Thrones, I know nothing.

mwmcover

The Premise: Forever sixteen on the outside, vampire police detective Mildred Heavewater works in a very diverse section of the NYPD staffed by humans, Universal Studios refugees, and creatures you will have to look up. A new murder case seems to point to a golem as the culprit, but the Jewish Mildred can’t believe that: after all, they’re “programmed” not to hurt people. Assisted by her human partner and the cute new sasquatch M.E., it’s up to Mildred to investigate in the Orthodox area of Brooklyn while being very, very unkosher.

Know that I am waving my arms and yelling “THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD!”

“J.A.,” you are likely saying, “is this one of your silly things again?” It is! and thank you for noticing. But it’s not just a book that reads like Lovecraft wrote a season of Law & Order and the whole thing was sent up in a Kent Montana novel; there’s a lot of heart here, even if the protagonist’s generally refuses to beat. Watching Mildred navigate her cases, her friendships, and a personal life she doesn’t quite seem to feel the right to have, we get a sense of a complex character for whom too many things have been put on hold, and whose “girl detective” appearance is the final layer of awkwardness on top of her other problems. The supporting characters—which include a werewolf, a harpy, a shoggoth with an excellent phone manner,  and some ghosts— are also (pardon the pun) fleshed out, and I found the whodunit reveal genuinely shocking.

Me being me, the cameos by Isaac Asimov and Carl Kolchak didn’t hurt, either.

The Verdict: *waves arms and yells “THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD!!” again*

I am delighted to see that this is intended as the first of a series; there are so many characters to follow in Murder With Monsters, and I will be delighted to do so. Especially if the shoggoth gets her own story, but I’m weird like that.

Might go well with: Sushi.

 

Next time: An aeronut. That’s a pun, not a typo.

 

Found-Again Friday: Forever Knight Season 1

I’m not all the way through revisiting season 1 yet, but I just couldn’t resist.

Why Found-Again? Like Highlander: The Series, this was much beloved by some of my roommates during the ’90s. Because it had only been a few years since I was my college’s biggest Vampire Files fan, it always bugged me at the time that I hated Forever Knight. It’s a classic example of a potential Found-Again show, and only availability prevented me from doing this one earlier.

The Premise: Nick Knight (Geraint Wyn Davies) is a 700+-year-old vampire. Nick would like to stop being a vampire; as a policeman, he’d rather be a good guy (and he can never be as cool a bad guy as his sire LaCroix (Nigel Bennett), anyway—my opinion, not his). Among his colleagues, only medical examiner Natalie (Catherine Disher) knows his secret; she’s trying, through a regimen of garlic pills and blood abstinence, to make Nick human again—and, as the shameless opening-credits monologue says, “end his forever (K)night.”

Good luck, lady.

Seriously, someone hop into the comments and help me, because I don’t know how to like Nick Knight. I think I am the ideal audience for a vampire cop show; my expectations are appropriately lowered from having disliked it the first time; and I can’t fault their casting, because every time I see Geraint Wyn Davies as Nick, I feel like he wandered out of a medieval movie, which should be a plus.

Now imagine a casting director yelling "That guy! That's our Mordred!"
Now imagine a casting director yelling “That guy! That’s our Mordred!”

Instead, it just makes me wonder why Nick has had centuries to perfect his people skills, yet is still kind of a doucherocket. I even hate his name: Nick was a Crusader, so he used to be a knight, and he’s only out at night, get it? It’s as if I went out, got nosferatued, and started my new unlife by calling myself J. A. Wordwhacker. Forever Wordwhacker.

If you want to be a vampire, it turns out there's an app for that.
If you want to be a vampire, it turns out there’s an app for that.

Let’s also talk about how 1) Nick doesn’t need a slightly dim, slightly sleazy cop sidekick, and 2) said sidekick doesn’t need to have a name that’s pronounced “Skanky.” (That Wordwhacker thing up there doesn’t sound so outlandish now, does it?) It’s a problem when someone saying a character’s name gently lifts you out of the story and back into the seventh grade, and the legitimate last-name spelling isn’t all that apparent when people are just saying “Skanky” on television.

It's spelled Schanke, but I'm guessing no one ever asks.
It’s spelled Schanke, but I’m guessing no one ever asks.

The Verdict: I still don’t like Forever Knight, but I do have a better handle on why. Tortured soul? Multiple lost loves? Ostensibly the hero but really kind of snippy and condescending to the mortals? Nick Knight is Connor MacLeod from Highlander, but with fangs.  (In fairness, Nick is probably a jerk because he is always hungry.) When I rule the universe, this will be a show in which Lacroix mind-whammies Natalie into curing all the other vampires so he can be the top pallid banana. Until then… well, until then, I even hate the graphic design.

No. No, no, no, NO.
No. No, no, no, NO.

Might go well with: I’ve always found that the best food for making fun of vampires is a bag of Bugles; use them for fake fangs. Otherwise, I’d go with Highlander: The Series and the Dark Shadows revival.

 

Next time: The Quest family gets über themselves.

The Quest For Monday! Part 44: Up, Up, And Away

Looks like Monday was really Monday’s left-handed doppelganger, Tuesday…

(Episode: “Double Danger”)

Synopsis: The Quests go to Thailand so Benton can develop drugs that facilitate long-distance space travel. They’re pursued by Zin, whose new plan involves a Race Bannon lookalike. Dr. Quest’s awesome project, some interesting animals and the presence of an honest-to-god adventuress brilliantly distract from one of my least favorite classic plots.

One could draw a lot of lessons from this bit of the episode. There’s the benefit of cooperation with regard to, say, escape:

Hadji magicked the bullets out of the bad guy's gun. Why isn't the cartoon named after him?
Hadji magicked the bullets out of the bad guy’s gun. Why isn’t the cartoon named after him?

One can argue that anyone who plans to blow up an ancient Buddha deserves no less than this:

In Evil Plotland, bench approaches YOU!
In Evil Plotland, bench approaches YOU!

But when it comes right down to it and you’re about to be exploded…

Tip 44: Try to know someone with a helicopter.

Is there anything Jade can't do? I'm going with "No."
Is there anything Jade can’t do? I’m going with “No.”

 

Next time: Either old and cheesy or…newer and still kind of cheesy.

Next time on TQfM!: Nature vs. torture and the end of this adventure.

The Quest For Monday! Part 43: Cherchez La Femme

(Episode: “Double Danger”)

Synopsis: The Quests go to Thailand so Benton can develop drugs that facilitate long-distance space travel. They’re pursued by Zin, whose new plan involves a Race Bannon lookalike. Dr. Quest’s awesome project, some interesting animals and the presence of an honest-to-god adventuress brilliantly distract from one of my least favorite classic plots.

Sometimes even the smartest and most capable of us gets stumped. A project hits a snag. Circumstances change. A member of your social circle has been replaced with an evil doppelganger. You know, those everyday nuisances.

Tip 43: A fresh pair of eyes can be a big help.

Meet Jade. She travels alone, scares leopards out of trees, and wears simply smashing pith- helmet-and-utility-snood headgear. She's also macked on Race Bannon enough to accept no substitutes.
Meet Jade. She travels alone, scares leopards out of trees, and wears simply smashing pith-helmet-and-utility-snood headgear. She’s also macked on Race Bannon enough to accept no substitutes.

 

Next time: I still like vampires-even ones not named Vlad, Jerry or Jack.

Next time on TQfM!: We draw close to the end of the bunches-of-Bannons trouble.

Finally! Friday: Criminal Minds Seasons 1–4

Why Finally? Because this is the reason I’ve had trouble coming up with Friday posts lately. You’d think an ’80s kid like me would’ve seen enough After-School Specials to avoid these traps, but no: I am addicted to Criminal Minds.

The Premise: In no particular order: murder, kidnapping and murder, murder, murder, rape, rape + murder, child murder, murder, profiling. (More specifically:  a team of FBI profilers, led by expert Jason Gideon and later by David Rossi, travel the US to catch the perpetrators of all that violence aforementioned.)

Did you see how the word “murder” began to not even look like a real word up there? That’s sort of what it’s like to watch this show sometimes.

Given my fondness for mystery and cop series and this show’s decade on the air, it’s odd that I hadn’t given Criminal Minds a try before this year. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that when I tell people what I’m watching, they make this…throat-noise, as if I’d announced some personal tragedy.  I don’t blame them, either, at least for the first two seasons: the problem with Mandy Patinkin as Jason Gideon is that he’s way too good in the role.  You feel every iota of Gideon’s pain, frustration, and building mental collapse—so much so that I began to think people who make it through seasons 1 and 2 should get achievement certificates.

That's pretty much his happy face...one reason I took to calling Gideon "America's Most Haunted."
That’s pretty much his happy face…one reason I took to calling Gideon “America’s Most Haunted.”

Edged in black, of course.

Criminal Minds can be super depressing. It’ll make you afraid to own a home, have a routine, play a sport, or make contact with other humans in any way. Most episodes aren’t even really mysteries in the usual sense of the term: the first suspect is often the right one, and the mystery is how to get one step ahead and maybe save one of the (many, many…and sometimes even many-er than that) victims.

But something happened around the middle of season 3: the characters started to work better as a team, and the show began to let us see more of them personally. Instead of relying solely on a few minutes with hacker Penelope Garcia to lighten the mood from SadCon 1, Criminal Minds started to level out a bit. Perhaps the people responsible for the show realized that creeping dread wasn’t what an audience should feel when approaching their TVs; I don’t know, but I am grateful.

The Verdict: It’s kind of the same verdict as my old Beauty and the Beast review: I like it—to the point I am ignoring my blogly duties—but don’t necessarily enjoy liking it. Fainthearted viewers might want to skip the Gideon years; fainthearted viewers might also look through some of the other reviews I’ve written to get an idea about what “too murdery” could possibly mean in the context of the things I watch.

Might go well with: You’ll probably want something significantly lighter as a palate cleanser—I’ve been alternating this with Kolchak: The Night Stalker because I have a weird idea of “light.” And honestly, food is going to be hit or miss with this one.

 

Next time: A “Quest”ion of identity.

The Quest For Monday! Part 42: Quest Family Wild Kingdom

(Episode: “Double Danger”)

Synopsis: The Quests go to Thailand so Benton can develop drugs that facilitate long-distance space travel. They’re pursued by Zin, whose new plan involves a Race Bannon lookalike. Dr. Quest’s awesome project, some interesting animals and the presence of an honest-to-god adventuress brilliantly distract from one of my least favorite classic plots.

Tip 42: Globetrotting spy-entists with lookalike enemies posing as bodyguards: they’re just like us!

…In the sense that they take animal photos at every opportunity, anyway.

This show does a lot of things that make me stare like that too, lizard.
This show does a lot of things that make me stare like that too, lizard.
—This nightmare scenario being a case in point.
—This nightmare scenario being a case in point.
Cute and horrifying at the same time.
Cute and horrifying at the same time.

Imagine what they could do with iPhones. For that matter, why hasn’t Benton just gone ahead and invented them?

 

Next time: Your guess is as good as mine.

Next time on TQfM!: Race’s sinister double.