tvordlj: (Default)
I finally saw Shameless (the US version). Hmmmm.... I haven't watched the UK pilot in quite awhile but it seems to me some of what was in the first ep in the US version was from several of the first few eps in the UK season 1 rather than matching the first episode. I may be wrong there, though. I liked Emmy Rossum as Fiona quite a bit. Most of the kids seem ok though why on earth did they note that Ian wants to be in the military and showed a shot of him in a cadet troup or reserve troup or something? Was that the American PC bit thrown in there? He looks way too young too. In fact most of the kids seemed to be a bit on the young side. The girl playing Debbie seemed ok but not quite worldly enough. Too sweet looking lol And the chick that played Karen, the one under the table while Lip tried to tutor her didn't quite have that slightly trashy edge. Joan Cusak looks to be a very good Sheila but time will tell.

And Frank? William H. Macy is a good actor but so far, not quite "Frank" enough i think. The UK Frank always seems to be in a slurry haze which makes his Greek Chorus observations even funnier and more pointed at times. Take this week, in the UK new season, where he thought his daughter was dead... you could see the news slowly burrowing through his drugged brain as he took it in. Frank really does love his kids in spite of outward appearances and i think he has a special bond with Debbie. I'm not sure yet that this Frank is going to have that nasty side to him, that air of "i don't give a fuck" or, maybe, it's that he's too cold and doesn't show any sympatico to the kids at all and you wonder why they are all so fond of him. The jury's still out.

Something else that doesn't quite add up as far as the continuity goes, and maybe it's just something i'd pick up on because i'm...picky. They say that the mother left a long time ago but the youngest, Liam, is a baby that can barely walk and she left when he was a few months old. Hardly a "long time ago", more like 6 or 8 months as opposed to several years.

Anyway, Macy so far isn't quite world weary enough but there's only been one episode so far and it wasn't really awful enough to forgo the rest of it. It's hard when you really enjoy a series and see it done with different casting. For people that have never seen the UK series, they'll probably like it. As it's on cable, there's more nudity and cursing than you get on network tv. You couldn't do Shameless without that raw side of it. There would be no point. I read one review where they think that there's extra nudity and "grittiness" just because it's cable and they can. Clearly, they've not seen the original.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
I've recorded the debut of the American version of Shameless and downloaded the first of the new season of UK Shameless. I may have to have a Shameless marathon later tonight. A UK tv writer, Ian Wylie, someone who's opinion i do respect, thinks the US version is pretty good. I remain doubtful but i'll watch it anyway. Willliam H. Macy just doesn't seem to me to be "Frank" from the show. Apparently they're using the scripts or mostly from the UK shows. I reckon the kids will be ok and i actually think Emmy Rossum as Fiona will be good too. Frank is what really makes the show, though. I think Joan Cusak is cast as the nutjob that Frank eventually (in the UK at least) gets together with, Sheila. I usually like her so hoping she'll be as full out as the UK Sheila was. Time will tell. Expect more of a review once i've watched it.

2011 books
2. Fall of Giants - Ken Follett (ebook)
This is the first of a trilogy. As such, it doesn't really "end". It feels more like the end of another chapter and you could easily turn the page for more. Having said that, it doesn't end on a "cliffhanger" either so you aren't going to sit in suspense waiting for the next of the three books.

Fall of Giants follows the ups and downs of a number of characters from various classes and countries and will, I expect, follow them and the subsquent generations through the next 100 years since this is the "Century Trilogy". It opens in the years before World War I and most of the book covers the war, it's events and it's politics as seen by officers, regular soldiers, women and traces the rise of the Soviets and the Russian Revolution.

We see life from the viewpoints of the poor in Russia and a mining village in Wales where an Earl and his family also live. We see the lives of the upper class British, a middle class man from the USA and another from Germany. All of the people that start the book off as struggling working poor work themselves up a bit by the end in various ways, mainly through politics, some by luck and the seat of their pants.

The book is heavy on politics from the "inside" (Britain, Germany, Russia and military) which might be a bit dull for some people who aren't into history, and light on romance though there is a bit of that, too. The characters seem very well thought out and drawn out and you get a very good feel for life in the various locations at that time. I have to admit that i skimmed through some of the war and battle scenes but thought that my father would have enjoyed it all. I did find the politics behind the Russian Revolution quite interesting and learned a few things about how WWI really started.

I did like the book, but it won't be to everyone's taste. If you like politics and/or history, you will enjoy it. If you like historical romance with a little bit of the above, you probably won't

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