Saturday, August 17, 2013

High excitement simulated v. masterful timing and emotional shading

We are often on the lookout for good tv. For us, that can range from the silliness of the "Vicar of Dibley" to the frantic, low-taste of "30 Rock". Even though we have seen every episode of "As Time Goes By", we have begun watching it all over again.  For the last two nights, we have watched the pilot and first episode of "Covert Affairs".


If a good show fits in a shorter time slot, we usually prefer that.  We almost never watch a movie or anything else 2 hours long or longer.  As Time Goes By runs about half an hour while Covert Affairs is closer to an hour.  "Time" is about 20 years old while Covert is more like 3 years old.  After a few looks at Covert, my credulity is tired.

I know that women have tons of talents and they prove it every day.  But while I believe in various sorts of gender equality, I also believe in equality of weight classes.  When a experienced male assassin, over 6 ft tall and about 190 lean, mean pounds, is standing behind a 5'2" woman of 110 (shapely!) pounds with a pistol, is she going to be able to whirl, knock his gun aside and knock him over?  Evidently, it can happen.

We understand that the young heroine is very smart and very driven.  She is so promising that she wasn't even given the full training period since her language skills are needed right now at headquarters.  You may have been in headquarters before: that's the place of all shiny surfaces, beautiful people in well-tailored business attire being identified by machines all day.

Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer never find it necessary to toss people to the ground.  They were deeply in love with each other 38 years ago but mail mistakes and the Korean war lead them to believe each was no longer of interest to the other.  Now, after one is widowed and the other divorced, they have found one another again.  They are neither one what might be called "cuddly" people and are not 100% sure they have any current interest in being friends or anything closer, if you know what I mean.

The contrast between the two productions is sharp.  People being shot in the chest versus older people sitting on a park bench talking.  High speed car chases with lots of slipping and sliding and gear changes versus climbing in and out of square, black London cabs with clanky motors.

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