Winter streaming! I have not kept up with the monthly log, and anything not streamed has sadly streamed away from my immediately available memory.

winter viewing top row winter viewing bottom row

Cosmos: This was part of my winter crash-course in cosmology. I watched loads of videos, seriously, shocking loads, from multiple series, but this, the mother and master of them all, still ranks as the best. I barely remembered it from the original run on PBS; I more readily recalled the numerous Carl Sagan impressions that followed the initial wave of this public television sensation at the dawn of the eighties. His slightly peculiar cadence is admittedly a big draw, but the real treat comes with the presentation that science really deserves and requires to infiltrate the masses, a group I place myself squarely in, at least in terms of space science.

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Oh, to exist in 1979 on the production design team for Cosmos.

The series is accessible, challenging to a degree, and surprisingly not nearly as dated as it should be, in either production or in science. And I’m not quite finished with it yet! The cosmos may stretch forever – maybe – but my Cosmos will last all the way to summer.

Beloved: Christophe Honoré’s musical drama. See related post.

Chin cleft alarm. Dalton would have been a fantastic addition to Dark Shadows.

Chin cleft alarm.

Jane Eyre: Yes. Yes to Timothy Dalton as Mr. Rochester. Yes.

I’m not finished with this yet, sort of like the novel that you keep by your bedside all winter long. Except it’s on television and winter’s over.

The story with all its brooding doesn’t seem so inviting for summertime, so I may have to step up the pace and finish this one up.

I may conclude by reading Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea as I’ll surely be missing the madwoman in the attic.

Pootie Tang: Written and directed by Louis CK. Starring and produced by Chris Rock. See related post.

Love, Parker

Is the hair frosted? I thought that didn’t really take off until Dynasty, another Spelling production.

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries: Pretty terrible. I only got through 15 minutes of the first episode, which was a Hardy Boys one. I’m not sure why Shaun Cassidy was ever a teen idol; Parker Stevenson should have been holding that trophy. I’m not throwing in the towel on finishing out this first episode, however. I want to see how the genuinely creepy maid who appears magnificently at the outset factors into the mystery!

Plus I must hold out for at least one Nancy Drew episode with Pamela Sue Martin, the original, superb Fallon from Dynasty, as well as one of the passengers on the ill-fated S.S. Poseidon.

That Aaron Spelling. He really was gold at this point in the game. Gold as the frosting in Parker Stevenson’s hair.

 Sleep Dealer: Alex Rivera’s near-future sci-fi perspective on U.S. imperialism in the virtual age. See related post.

Sabine: Sandrine Bonnaire’s documentary about her sister with autism. See related post.

Howl: James Franco stars as Allen Ginsburg. See related post.

The Broken Tower: James Franco writes, directs, and stars in this film about poet Hart Crane. See related post.

RampageArcher (S2): Still working through slowly. Holy shit, the episode in which Archer is being treated for breast cancer with phony drugs after the real ones have been stolen by the Irish mafia leading him to go on a medical marijuana/chemo rampage – he reminds us of his “rampage” with comic precision at least a dozen times – may be my favorite thus far. While I was worried where they might take it making me hate all the characters in addition to the writers, said writers demonstrably know their characters better than I, which I boundlessly appreciate. This might be Archer’s closest shave with heroism.

Archer as Charlie Chaplin and Mallory as Elvira

Another treasured flashback to Archer’s childhood: This time to the moment when his enthusiasm for gambling was quashed by his mother when she won all of his Halloween candy. Then, still in her unsettling Elvira costume, she berates her child for not being able to hold his liquor any better than he gambles – as he vomits gin into the toilet, still keeping his Charlie Chaplin mustache clean.

Then there’s the Monte Carlo episode, in which we learn how it is possible that Archer should diverge from James Bond in his disaffection for the gaming tables. Animation really opens up new dimensions of possibility for the flashback. The image of Archer as a child is so stunningly incongruous with his adult persona that all it takes is a peek to set off chuckles of pained discomfort. Make it a Halloween flashback and gasping precedes my laughter.

Archer’s dickishness is somehow just revenge for the tragedy of his childhood.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (S1): I had to say goodbye to Darla for the first time, which is always hard, but then, I know BtVS and Angel work flashbacks like no other, and then I’ve got that resurrection to look forward to. I’m enjoying The Master immensely.

The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant: AIP drive-in trash. Resplendent. See related post.

Mad Men (S3): Pacing carefully. I’ve read that each episode is structured like a short story, which is how I feel after finishing, almost always wholly satisfied, and usually on Sunday nights, lulled toward bed.

Small Town Gay Bar: Documentary on gay bars in rural/small-town southern U.S. See related post.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Ricardo Montalbán reprises his role as Khan, this time on the big screen. See related post.

Star Trek (Space Seed): Ricardo Montalbán’s original turn as Khan. See related post.

Undertow: Gay ghost drama in a Peruvian fishing village. See related post.

The Walking Dead (S2): I haven’t been in the mood for dread in 2013. I just never seem to be in the mood for desperation and reverse-necro-cannibalism. And we’ve been on the farm too long, even though in Walking Dead time I think it’s only been a few weeks. I want to move on.

Wrangler: OK documentary on gay/straight-for-pay porn star Jack Wrangler. His third-act surprise, marrying cabaret/1940s singer Margaret Whiting, takes the story into wild territory, wilder than 1970s gay porn!

Nikita (S2): Getting bored. Season 2 was a major comedown from the first. I am wondering if the addition of so much mindless gunfire is an attempt to garner a larger international audience. The smart twists and more martial-arts action scenes have taken a sad back seat to loud gun battles.