Friday, December 15, 2017

Ranking the M. R. James stories


Wooooooooo, it's Christmas! Which means it's time for spooky stories, but only if you're British and at least a generation older than I am (and often wish to be).

I didn't have the pleasure of being creeped out by these tales as a child, but reading 'The Mezzotint' with my ears on one of my Edinburgh walkabouts is one of the few times I've recaptured that innocent chill in adulthood. Probably because it reminded me of that scary bit at the start of The Witches where a child gets trapped in a painting. At least I wasn't deprived of Roald Dahl.

Even if none of the others succeed in raising a goosebump or ruffling a feather, reading The Top 40 M. R. James Stories is still going to be a falsely nostalgic pleasure. Pass the imaginary Christmas cake. I miss British desserts. I don't belong in this time or place.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Reviewing the classic Doctor Who serials + extras


Not a judgemental ranking this time, because I watched these over the course of a few years and it's not like I can remember the subtle nuances that make 'Warriors of the Deep' slightly more or less poor than 'The Horns of Nimon.' Instead, judgemental ratings and reviews in chronological order, copy-pasted from my old TV blog onto one conveniently unwieldy page.

I didn't watch these in the correct sequence (6-7, 4-5 and finally 1-3 with breaks in-between), so I may become noticeably less aware of continuity and influence as I go along. But I know what I like. I'll throw in a top 10 at the end if my first-impression reflexes are that valuable.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ranking the Twilight Zone episodes


Almost 60 years on, The Twilight Zone is still the definitive TV anthology series. Even a load of really terrible episodes can't tarnish that legacy. You've already seen the best ones on The Simpsons, but The Top 156 Twilight Zone Tales are well worth checking out.

Here are my unreliable first-timer 'reviews,' newly shuffled into an inconsistent ranking based on several-year-old memories. In case that's useful to anyone. You never know. Stranger things have happened... in the Twilight Zone.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ranking Clive Barker's Books of Blood stories


I'm not a big fan of modern horror. I prefer my spooky stories cobwebbed and prudish, where tentacles are just tentacles and everyone's far too busy tracking down old manuscripts and losing their minds to have time for that sort of thing.

But after Hellraiser successfully creeped and grossed me out as an adult, I was intrigued to read more from Clive Barker in a way I'd never felt after watching the TV movies of Stephen King. Sorry, Langoliers.

That dark voyage has been going on for a decade now and hasn't all been smooth sailing, but the perverse peaks were worth the tedious troughs. For reasons unknown, I persevered with unpalatable bloated sagas but barely touched the appetising short stuff before now. Here are The Top 30 Tales Of Books Of Blood.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ranking the Murder Most Horrid mortality tales


I never watched The Vicar of Dibley, I preferred the darker side of Dawn French's '90s output. Except when it was rubbish.

Here are some unhelpfully brief thoughts illustrated by below-par VHS-to-MP4 screencaps.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Ranking the Jonathan Creek cases


David Renwick's duffel-clad mysteries were the peak of '90s Saturday evening programming, and they're still intermittently making them 20 years later. But do any of the modern puzzles hold up to the classics? And is it a good idea to rewatch something you considered the height of flabbergasting genius in your youth, now that you're grown up and can spot when it's a bit ramshackle and convenient sometimes?

Here's what I thought when I watched them all again the last time they made some new ones. Newly arranged into an unreliable ranking for the sake of convenience and arguments.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ranking the Blackadder episodes


No special occasion this time (we just passed the 30th anniversary of the underdog-favourite third series?) Here's what I could be bothered to write about The Top 27 Blackadder Episodes (plus extras) when I watched through them all again a few years back. (When my wife isn't interested in watching something with me, I like to talk to an imaginary penpal).

Newly shuffled into an approximate ranking of best to worst, because that took minimal extra effort and it's an unhealthy preoccupation.

Friday, November 17, 2017

A bunch of time travel films


Thirty half-arsed "reviews" of films featuring varying degrees of time travel, salvaged from my old blog since Photobucket's ransom demand made wading through that site even more irritating than it was already. In alphabetical order, not chronological. That would just get confusing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ranking Robert Jordan's Conan novels


My Robert E. Howard read-through was hardly comprehensive, only covering the 30-odd Conan stories and fragments he wrote in his short lifetime. So it seemed likely I'd take another swing and hack through more of the bibliography at some point.

I didn't expect it would involve reading another writer's expanded universe fan fiction from 50 years later, but here I am. Clearly couldn't get enough of the rugged brute. I could have read some proper novels in the time this took me. Just as I could have spent my late teen years getting to grips with Bach rather than Manowar, but never mind.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ranking the Red Dwarf episodes


Red Dwarf just unloaded the last of its time-delayed twelve-episode batch of retro space sitcom adventures, and they were mostly... well, let's be thankful that the quality was mostly above the late-'90s nadir. Except when it noticeably wasn't.

But don't take my word for it – here's me with my hot-off-the-press-meets-fifteen-year-old-received-opinion approximate list of The Top 73 Red Dwarf Episodes (1988-2017). I haven't rewatched most of the classics for years, nor most of the shit ones for even longer, so be prepared for inconsistent and literally rose-tinted opinions about my favourite childhood series.