Sep. 21st, 2016

shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Off and on since May, my mother would ask me, "When's Bull start?" [I'm like, uh, what? I had to actually look it up for them. Turns out it wasn't that hard -- NYC's subways and billboards were littered with the ads.] See, American Television Studios have this odd habit of marketing their new tv shows about five to six months before they are slated to air, with the hopes of creating a certain level of anticipation. (In actuality, they just confuse the heck out of people, but that's a whole other post.) Apparently, my father was interested in it, they are huge NCIS fans and one of the actors from that show [Michael Weatherly, who left NCIS last year] is playing the lead in Bull.

Also, Bull is a series that is co-created and co-written by the creator of House and Dr. Phil. (Yes, that Dr. Phil.) Apparently Dr. Phil McGraw, prior to becoming a popular and beloved television shrink psychologist with his own self-help series, entitled "Dr. Phil" championed by Oprah, was a high-paid jury consultant.

n 1990, McGraw joined lawyer Gary Dobbs in co-founding Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI), a trial consulting firm through which McGraw later came into contact with Oprah Winfrey. Eventually, CSI became a profitable enterprise, advising Fortune 500 companies and injured plaintiffs in achieving settlements. McGraw is no longer an officer or director of the company.

Little known to most people, high-profile cases hire jury consultants. What these people do is profile the jury throughout the case. Whether this is truly effective is debatable. And since they tend to cost a lot, only high profile clients make use of them. But it is an actual career, and the series is loosely based on Dr. Phil McGraw aka Dr. Phil's real experiences as a jury consultant, and he is a co-executive producer.
[I looked into doing it once. Being a jury consultant, not co-executive producing a television series, well actually I looked into that too...]

The show is set up as a sort of legal procedural version of HOUSE, sans the charismatic Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edlesteian, and Robert Scean Leonard, who let's face it made that show work -- not the show-runner.

From a legal procedural standpoint, it's rather boilerplate. We have the tormented genius lead, who solves cases, and his team of helpers, who cater to his needs. The legal courtroom hijinks, which make trial litigation deceptively more entertaining than it actually is. Litigation, as anyone who has ever served on an American jury knows, is in reality about as interesting as watching grass grow. It's not Perry Mason, it's the OJ Simpson Trial - where you spend hours trying to figure out if you can admit an ill-fitting bloody glove into evidence. Actually, the only television series that got it right to date is The Good Wife.

The characters are interesting but not that compelling. And the mystery...well, the solution sort of fell in out of the blue. It wasn't built well. Or it could have been built a bit better. The story was less about who did it, and more about how to get the kid, who luckily was innocent, off.

The other problem is...that the clients are all wealthy and he can only help the wealthy clients, because no one else can afford him. So, basically, privileged rich people who get away with murder.
Not sure how many people want to watch that each week. Made me feel a bit on the skeevy side.

I think whether you like it or not hinges a great deal on Michael Weatherly's performance as Bull. I'm not a huge fan of Weatherly, who was previously in Dark Angel and on NCIS. While I adored Hugh Laurie, and watched House mainly because of him. Also, the degree to which you find jury manipulation and consulting interesting. I tuned in because I found the jury consultant bit interesting, but it's not interesting enough to me to hold my interest week after week.

It should be noted that I'm not a fan of procedurals, generally speaking. I rarely watch them and when I do, they rarely hold my interest. Particularly criminal and legal procedurals. Medical procedurals -- I'm more likely to watch, since I know zip about that field. I know a bit too much about legal and criminal procedure for the television version to hold my interest. I have a tendency to nit-pick, which throws me out of the show.

However, my parents are fans of the procedural format, not only that, they were looking forward to seeing Bull. They watched it last night, after NCIS. The verdict? They weren't impressed. My mother didn't think it worked. It wasn't believable, and she felt the mystery was clumsily handled. Also she didn't really like anyone that much.

So...I've cancelled it. Two new shows, watched, both cancelled after the pilot. About 100 to go. (I'm kidding, in reality, I'll only watch about 20 of them, if that.)
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
Sometimes I think I should just give up the ghost and call it the writing meme or books to be eventually read somewhere down the road meme. It's not that I'm not reading anything, I am, quite a bit really - but it's mainly books I've already read and talked about, or technical work related crap which you really don't want to know about, and I can't talk about anyhow.

Oh as an aside, not really book related, but while hunting television shows to record - because obviously I don't feel I have enough as it is - I discovered, "The Town That Dreaded Snowmen" - except apparently, I misread it, and it was, in reality, the Town that Dreaded Sundown...on Syfy. I was rather disappointed.

So...without further ado, books to be read sometime down the line:

I recently purchased:

* Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher -- it's a weird book about a woman who discovers she's been reincarnated as a ghost on a ghost planet and stuck with an Irishman who refuses to acknowledge her existence due to protocol. It sounds familiar, I'm hoping I didn't already read it and forgot about it. Amazon usually tells me if I've already bought a book though...

* Magic Binds by Illona Andrews - which is the latest in the Kate Daniels series, and I'd pre-ordered. Not there yet, still re-reading.

* Grunt by Mary Roach, Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, Packing for Mars by Mary Roach -- all nonfiction. I've read snippets of Grunt. So far made it past the paragraph on studying the flight patterns of turkey vultures to ensure that planes don't collide with turkey vultures. Quite a few turkey vultures were killed during the experiment, but the good news, the experiment resulted in measures that would ensure no additional turkey vultures or people would die in the future.

In the long list of upcoming FALL BOOKS - which publishers paid Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly to promote (they do that by the way, what you thought people just randomly selected these books to tell you about? HA. And the IRS is filing a lawsuit against you, please call this number..)
two stood out:

1. John Le Carre's memoir about his days as a spymaster entitled The Pigeon Tunnel - it's his journey from spymaster to novelist. The man's career goes back to the early days of MI5. Ian Fleming and Le Carre are the gold standard in spy books, along with the guy who wrote the Bourne Books, whose name escapes my memory at the moment.

While I've read more Fleming, I have to state that Le Carre is the master stylist.

2. Maureen Dowd's The Year of Voting Dangerously. Maureen Dowd is a humorous liberal columnist for the New York Times, who is currently engaged in a Twitter War with Donald Trump - this begs the question, is there anyone who isn't engaged in a verbal battle of some sort with Donald Trump? And there are actually people who plan on voting for this guy for President? Are you nuts?

Nothing else stood out. I read an entire list of books the pubs were promoting and forgot 99% of them. I find this depressing. I also find the fact that the only books that are promoted are the ones that are pushed by major publishing houses, and written by the same writers, as if no one else is doing anything. As a self-published and independent professional writer, it depresses and infruriates me. As a reader, it irritates me. I'm finding myself looking off the beaten path. Or trying to.

So? I continue to boycott anything but independent sources, like book recs on lj, word of mouth, and my own weird searches. I never heard of the Kate Daniels series -- it was rec'd by a co-worker. Publisher's Weekly? Library Journal? NY Times Book Review? Stop catering to rich publishers and marketing people, and I might pay attention to you again. [How do I know that they do this? I tried to get them to review or look at my book and was told it had to be submitted by a trade publisher or I had to pay them $300 or more dollars for an honest review. Plus a subscription. That's how I know.]
Page generated Oct. 18th, 2017 11:56 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios