Ken Wheaton’s Bacon and Egg Man

Filed under:Authors,Books,Cool,Food,Politics,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on April 11, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

I bought Bacon and Egg Man because I liked Wheaton’s first book, The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival, but I bought it thinking I wouldn’t be able to read it for months because law school. I haven’t read anything without a case name or a blog heading in months. Instead, I started it on the plane out for spring break and had it finished before I had to get back on the plane to come home. It is a snappy, hilarious read that brings up serious issues without taking itself any too seriously. In two words: thoughtful and funny. And since it’s well written and doesn’t make me claw my editor’s eyes out of my head, what more do you want?

Wes lives in the northeast corner of what used to be the United States. New York and its surrounding blue-state cohorts have seceded, and in the resulting Federation, original Bloomberg’s original soda ban has led to the illegality of fat and sugar and basically everything that tastes good. The people eat tofu and vegetables and visit the doctor by mandate to have their body fat monitored. Strangely, this has not stopped people from dying of heart attacks or cancer, but nobody seems to grasp the implications of that. Wes lives the life of an average guy who works a job, makes a living at it, and keeps to himself. But he’s a drug dealer and a user—not only does he get bacon, eggs, real milk and butter, ribeyes, sausage, and yes, soda for his clients, he eats them himself, cooking them up in a black cast-iron skillet (whose appearance, all by itself, won my heart in the first chapter). And soon he gets caught.

Wheaton has a positive gift for loading a lot of entertaining, detailed exposition into a short stretch that doesn’t weary because it doesn’t feel like lengthy or unnecessary narration. As in his first book, we are introduced to the characters swiftly, but in a perfect medium—we’re not plunged directly into the middle of unfamiliar action but not subjected to a tedious process of setting the stage. From there, he scatters details that round out the future vision he’s created, note-perfectly hilarious. He’s like a Sherlock Holmes in that when I read his projection of the future, I thought, “Of COURSE that’s the way it’s going to go, based on the trends we have now,” but I wouldn’t have thought of it myself. (Holmes used to get irritated with Watson for saying how simple things were once Holmes explained them.) In that sense, he’s also like a good mystery writer, since in a mystery, when you find out who the perp is, you should say “OF COURSE,” but you shouldn’t have seen it coming too easily.

Here, we’re left in no doubt as to who the villains are up front. The scenario of the government taking away stuff that’s good, and that in moderation is quite good for us, theoretically for our own good, is all too believable. (And, as a law student, I also find completely believable the cops’ ever-spiraling obligations to arrestees as they’re pointing weapons at them. “We are considering firing upon you. This shot is not designed to be lethal, but it will hurt. In some cases, the charge has proven lethal. The government is not responsible for any damages to your person or property. Do you understand this?” I was dying laughing, imagining the Miranda-style case law that generated requirements like this.) Honestly, as I read this book, I was kind of amazed America ever came back from Prohibition. But at the same time, life goes on. The cops do their jobs; there is not an uprising brewing over these laws; it’s a dreary institutional utopia instead of either a smooth façade with sinister underpinnings or a hotbed of seething chaos waiting to explode. Again: all grimly believable. People can get used to a lot, if they have to.

I won’t get into any more of the plot, but there is a girl (and you know I’m a sucker for a love story), and there is a villain with a face (as opposed to the oppress-you-for-your-good government), and there is a back story. And both the girl story and the back story are awesome. As a reader, my highest respect is reserved for authors who both have insight into human nature and can paint it accurately and entertainingly, and both the girl story and the back story are chock full of the reality of human nature without being maudlin. And, even more difficult to pull off, both the girl story and the back story are woven into the larger story seamlessly. And the whole fabric is light enough to build a nice warm blanket of story that makes you laugh and think, not a smothery coat of moralizing that makes you squirm and roll your eyes. (Like my metaphors might be doing now. I ain’t no novelist.) And there’s a twist—a lovely twist that I saw coming a page before it happened. (And that is not either a compliment or an insult to Ken Wheaton; it’s a compliment to myself. I am an author’s and a screenwriter’s dream in that I never see anything coming, ever. So the fact that I saw it one page ahead means I’m ever so slowly getting smarter as I age.)

There are only three things about the book that I didn’t think worked just right. First, one of the characters—well, see here how Wheaton himself describes him. But this is a matter of taste. I’m a bit uncomfortable with this kind of character, but I can distinguish him, at least, from a character that invades my mind and makes me think “garbage in, garbage out” and want to stop reading. This guy is a lighthearted blowhard that it’s easy for me not to take too seriously, so I got used to him quickly.

Second, what’s left of the United States outside the Federation suffers under none of these food restrictions, which is supposed to be a good thing, right? But the people are described as fat—really fat. As I was reading it, I shrugged that off, thinking, “He just threw that in for ‘balance,’” since my impression from his blog is that he’s more libertarian than anything else and therefore not in favor of the kind of restrictions he’s talking about. And I know he loves proper food. But it stuck with me that this portrayal really just flatly undermined the larger point. The point seems to be that regulations like this won’t stop people from being unhealthy in some form or other and certainly won’t stop them from dying of natural causes at young ages, and therefore they certainly aren’t worth restricting people’s freedom so greatly. But if everybody else is depicted as fat and unattractive, then it makes the restrictions look a bit more desirable, doesn’t it?

Third, and I don’t know if this is a matter of taste or of the “rules,” whatever they are, of novel construction, but I felt it in Rabbit Festival too—the ends of both books seem rushed. In each, I’d have liked more information about how things all shook out and a little more depth of feeling from each of several characters (which I know from earlier parts of the book they’re totally capable of). But the wrap-up is too fast for me, and I don’t see a need to whiz on to The End quite so quickly.

I can’t tell you every single thing I liked, loved, and related to in this book, or else I’d spill the whole plot and write a book myself in detailing them. But as a, shall we say, well rounded girl who grew up on bacon, biscuits, and gravy and whose cast iron skillets are the best things in her kitchen, I like that Ken Wheaton can write about the things he does in the way he does without either schmaltzy nostalgia or petty resentfulness. His characters don’t have a chip on their shoulders that they spend the books magically getting rid of; they’re just people struggling with their everyday lives, in this case seen through a prism of somewhat fantastic events. And one more thing I have to thank him for: While I have done ribeye steaks in my cast iron for years, throwing half a stick of butter in at the very end was a new idea to me. But not for long. Yum!

The Proposal

Filed under:Movies,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on January 25, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

Why did stars as big as Sandra Bullock and Mary Steenburgen do this movie? Heck, why did stars the size of Ryan Reynolds or Craig T. Nelson do it? Not even Betty White was able to perk it up. I don’t mind formulaic romantic comedies. I’m a girl. I mind formulaic romantic comedies that think they can get by on formula and star power while adding absolutely zero wit or character development.

Sandra Bullock’s character, Margaret Tate, is a bitch in four-inch heels who rules the office with an iron hand and her assistant (Reynolds’s Andrew Paxton) with a whip-hand. Though her manner is uncompromising and manipulative, interestingly–and it was almost the only interesting thing available in these characters–her actions, as demonstrated by the firing of a subordinate, are reasonable bordering on gracious. When she lets him go, she tells him exactly why, her reason makes sense, and she gives him “two months to find another job, and you can say you resigned.” Most people losing jobs nowadays should do so well.

The movie grinds through its “get married to avoid deportation” plot, takes Margaret home to Andrew’s Alaskan small-town mogul parents, runs through the usual physical and embarrassment comedy scenes, and winds up with Margaret leaving because she now likes Andrew too much to make him go through with the wedding. The only warm moment was The Kiss of True Love, and by that point I was thanking the Hollywood gods that they could get that much right, because they certainly didn’t show enough change in the thoughts, feelings, or manners of these characters to make us care otherwise. Andrew’s parents were ciphers with no depth, as was his Alaskan ex, and the movie followed the seemingly now-standard formula of “two endings”–the big, public denouement followed by the quieter “real” ending when the characters finally come together. But that routine has to be handled carefully to make it work; otherwise it just feels tacked on and deflated. And no part of this movie, including the ending, got very careful handling.

The direction was not altogether lacking; some interesting camera work tried hard to provide the depth that was missing from the script. And the idea certainly was solid–see also Green Card–but unlike Green Card, the comedy scenes were mainly mildly cringe-inducing and the characters just flat. They had chemistry, but it was all untapped. It could have been a good movie had it had a different script. Alas. But hey … Ryan and Sandy sure can kiss.

Leap Year

Filed under:Movies,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on January 11, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

… was the cutest lame movie I’ve seen in a while.

Amy Adams and Matthew Goode are both absolutely charming, but their characters needed a lot of work. “Predictable” didn’t even make the running into a list of major problems with the film. “Predictable” is when a [snob, jerk, ass, obliviot, hateful cynic] of a [man, woman] and a [man, woman] who are nevertheless totally [hilarious, witty, insightful, devilishly charming, really soft and mushy inside if somebody would just SEE IT] eventually realize they are crazy about each other and live happily ever after, whatever other [men, women] might be in the picture to start with. While Amy Adams’s Anna at least has determination and with-it-ness to recommend her, Matthew Goode’s Declan pretty much has … his smile, beard, and Irish accent. There is very little indicator that either has much going on otherwise and very little development to go along with it. The dialogue is painfully lacking in wit and the physical comedy (which, I stipulate up front, is not my thing anyway) is just lacking.

More than anything, though, the whole thing, typified by the main characters, just lacks depth. But, as I say–still cute.

Shorter Kyle, Shorter Me, Same Sherlock

Filed under:Movies,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on January 6, 2010 @ 11:19 am

Kyle Smith boils down his argument against the new Holmes movie to objecting to the portrayal of Holmes as action man:

Must we filter every bit of popular literature through the wow-seeking now? … As for the badassery, please. Fencing (and, for that matter, boxing) were gentlemen’s pursuits. A gentleman is pretty much the opposite of a badass. If you want to show a guy beating up villains, why bother to call it Sherlock Holmes? Why not just call it “Die Hard with a Roommate”? The key to Holmes (and by the way, the fencing and the boxing were just character flourishes; he hardly ever solved problems using physical power) was his massive intelligence.

And I reply in a comment awaiting moderation that, no, he doesn’t use physical prowess to solve the problems, but a) that’s not what the movie shows him doing, and b) Doyle’s Holmes does use physical prowess to collar the guys perpetrating the problems, which is what the movie shows. I’ll grant that Doyle’s Holmes would not wade into the finale brawl on his own without Watson, Lestrade, and crew, which he does in the movie, but he definitely is prepared for, and triumphant in, physical confrontation. In A Study in Scarlet, just to take one example, Holmes tricks murderer Jefferson Hope into turning his back to him, snookers the handcuffs onto Hope, and then, joined by Lestrade, Gregson, and Watson, subdues Hope as he tries to throw himself out the window. One guy so ferocious it takes four, including Holmes, to wrestle him down and tie him up with towels. Yeah, no action there.

I think the main source of the disconnect is that while Doyle notes these things, he doesn’t dwell on them, doesn’t describe them in any detail, and thus doesn’t create anything approaching an atmosphere of danger and action. Holmes looks at clues, he sits and thinks, and at the end, he notes out loud the steps he took to reach his conclusion. But in between, there really is a lot of action. And Downey’s Holmes looks at clues, he sits and thinks, and he notes out loud the steps he takes to reach his conclusion. But in between, there really is a lot of action.

P.S.: Funny enough, in another theater in another decade, I probably would have been solidly on Kyle’s side of the question.

Previously: I Detected Some Holmes Under All That Sherlock

I Detected Some Holmes Under All That Sherlock

Filed under:Movies,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on January 4, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

Warning: The following are the disjointed ramblings of somebody trying to return to blogging after a months-long absence. Read at your own peril. Spoilers are few, but this will likely only make sense if you’ve seen the movie and/or read some Sherlock Holmes.


Kyle Smith really, really didn’t like Sherlock Holmes. Despite a large and growing set of indications that his tastes and mine are quite dissimilar, I have every respect for his powers of analysis and rhetoric and thus almost let his opinion talk me out of seeing it. That would have been a huge mistake.

I must be getting soft in my old age, because at first glance, almost everything Kyle said about the differences between Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock and Conan Doyle’s seems true, and yet I found the movie to be great fun, brainy, and even very moving. Almost everything Kyle said about the banal one-liners is true too, but he apparently let them overshadow the real dialogue, of which there was plenty, and the clever pacing and excellent fight scenes, which took what what is by now a very old formula about the working of Holmes’s mind and gave it new life.

This movie is like Sherlock Holmes as the Illusionist Meets the Pirates of the Caribbean at Fight Club, but for all that, it’s a great movie in which the spirit of Holmes does, in fact, despite his seeming differences from his literary namesake, rise again.

When I saw the trailer I knew the movie would be radically unlike Doyle’s Holmes. I was originally prepared to like it in spite of that–Kurt Loder’s comment that they should have called it Robert Downey Junior instead of Sherlock Holmes was right on the money–but I was not prepared for both how much I did like it and how much of Holmes still lived in it. Ritchie and his screenwriters accomplished something I wouldn’t have believed possible if I’d anticipated it beforehand: They made a new Holmes true to the old one. People keep telling me J.J. Abrams has accomplished this with Star Trek, too, but I’ve yet to suspend my disbelief for a couple hours and watch it. The thing is, with this Holmes, the supposed differences from Doyle turn out to be mostly on the surface, and they’re mostly showed up only by other cinematic renderings of Holmes. They tend to sink in significance or disappear altogether when compared to Doyle’s actual stories. (more…)


Filed under:Reviews,Television — posted by Anwyn on March 9, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

Pretty straightforward (both the show, and this review): He’s good, although so far the writers aren’t allowing him to show much real feeling, and she’s pretty bad. They’re both playing a bit over the top, but with him it seems like that’s the only way he thinks the character would go over, while with her it feels like it’s just the only way she knows how to play it. What her character needs: More Dani Reese. Stat. Play it down and actually have a hard shell, not just pretend to.

And while this article (via Whedonesque) goes on at length about their chemistry, so far I see no evidence of it. She’s about as attractive as a cast-iron icicle. He’s doing a little better, more like James Woods as Shark, but you can’t make a fire without friction.

Verdict: Will last longer than Drive, but that’s a pretty low bar. Put up something real pretty soon, guys.

The Prince Caspian I Never Knew I Always Wanted

Filed under:Movies,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on January 22, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

I saw Prince Caspian last week. For those of you who know me from ye Olde Skool, hold your breath: This purist liked the very altered movie. A lot.

**SPOILERS** for Prince Caspian below. (Oh and by the way, I came across Lost spoilers in the public news-feed area of Facebook today–i.e. somebody in my friends list just plastered spoilers in her status, and when I complained, said that she considered anything fair game after the time of the episode airing. WTF? Unless you have some special powers or access, you can’t possibly possess any spoilers BEFORE it airs, so your breathtaking courtesy in witholding what you don’t have is, shall we say, a little lost. And you really should catch up to the era of TiVo and realize that not even TV Guide puts spoilers into headlines any more, for those of us with a schedule that doesn’t care to adhere to the network’s air time. Thus endeth passive-aggressive rant.)


You’re So Cute When You’re Trying to Be Cool

Filed under:Cool,Reviews,Television — posted by Anwyn on August 20, 2008 @ 9:01 am

I have a new show. The time has come to write about it. I watched another episode of it last night and it’s just fun. It’s not terribly witty. It’s not terribly fresh. It’s not heavy on a good love story. It’s not clever and very proud of itself for being clever. It’s just a straight-ahead action/drama hourlong with cute actors, stories that drive fast and sharp through the whole hour, and fun. It’s Burn Notice, on USA, and it’s like a combination of Magnum, P.I., a laid-back Miami version of Mission Impossible, and a tiny touch of Veronica Mars thrown in, in the sense that nothing ever seems to throw these characters.

Jeffrey Donovan (who should definitely play my brother-in-law in the family life story) plays Michael Westen, “a spy” (I didn’t watch first season, so I don’t know if it was ever made clear what agency he was with, but they don’t bother tagging it specifically this season) who was “burned”–somebody blew his cover and reported as much to his bosses, which is the “burn notice” that means they will not protect or acknowledge him. He’s on his own in Miami with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar–much, much more on her in a minute), a buddy named Sam (Bruce Campbell), and his mother, Madeleine (the Cagney half of Cagney and Lacey). The plots are dual: On one side, he’s being recruited for questionable jobs by the people who burned him. He goes along and tries to gather as much information as possible about them while reluctantly working for them. On the other side, he’s doing jobs for people in trouble–a loan shark here, an embezzling frame-up there.

It’s the focus on the Magnum-like plots that makes it work–we’re not supposed to worry too much about what agency Michael was with, what his always-available, always-competent friends do for day jobs. Westen narrates, detailing choice bits of M.I.-style maneuvers and high-tech equipment here and there, and Fiona is his all-around no-need-to-hire-a gun. Guns of every make, shape and size that she doesn’t hesitate to whip out on the least provocation.

Okay, I’ve always loved Gabrielle Anwar, had a soft spot for her ever since Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. I keep going back and forth as to whether she was miscast in this show. She is long and lean, a little too thin and spray-tanned for comfort (the Fug Girls would call her orange), and her accent (she’s English) is wobbly, to say the least, while Donovan (he was born in New England; I already know he does a creditable Southern) takes on and puts off the patois of every area of the country in his dealings with baddies. She’s supposed to be the firecracker siren, but she really strikes me as just cute under all her bad-ass cool. Maybe that’s my aforementioned soft spot for her talking, but whatever–she works in this line-up. In a show that took itself more seriously, she simply would not have enough weight, and I’m hoping they do a little more with her as time goes on. Of the four primary characters, we know hers the least–but of course I’ve come in at the second season and maybe they probed her a bit more in the first. She’s a little brittle right now–the strain of playing a vixen is showing a bit. More Gabrielle!

It’s a fun show, cute and cool, and somebody at USA is smart to run it in the summer.

A Good Genocide

Filed under:Not Cool,Reviews,Television — posted by Anwyn on July 28, 2008 @ 7:59 am

Relax, I’m not talking about anything in the real world. I’m talking about Doctor Who … again … and how the idiot moral and political beliefs of its writers are turning the doctor into a more buffoonish figure than I would like to see him be.

**SPOILERS** for the season finale, “Journey’s End,” below. (more…)

Through Grown-Up Eyes

Filed under:Movies,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on June 10, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

The trouble with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is that it’s not a farce, yet parts of it are completely unserious, and it’s not a horror movie, but parts of it are pretty much the most terrifying things I would ever deliberately watch. As a kid I used to think the scenes in Pankot Palace were merely disgusting, but nowadays the juxtaposition between the serving of the monkey brains and live eels and the discussion of the horror-inducing Thuggee cult is just ridiculous–and looks even more so when followed by stomach-turning portrayal of the rituals of the cult. Both Raiders and Last Crusade manage to bring the funny without whanging us over the head with it. But Ford is magnificent, as he was in all three, and even the miscast Kate Capshaw, admittedly with horrible lines to work with, in certain scenes gives a perfect performance as a squidgy, helpless companion while the classic Indy booby-traps roll down on our heroes. John Williams’s music is even a cut above. But then the whole thing degenerates into dark, dismal un-Indy again as they capture and drug Jones, to be wrenched back to good heroics in their escape and restoration of the children to their village.

Uneven, heavy-handed, difficult to watch–but still Indy.

P.S. Short Round was the brightest spot in the whole film. Jonathan Ke Quan is three years older than me and has had quite a varied career.

Disney’s Mary Poppins: Practically Subversive to Modern Audiences

Filed under:Movies,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on April 28, 2008 @ 9:44 am

We’ve been watching a lot of Mary Poppins around our house lately. It was a favorite of mine when I was a child, but I’ve only now become struck by how political a film it is. The over-arching narrative of aloof, self-absorbed parents seeing the light and reconnecting with their children is both obvious and common, but it has some surprising messages for adult takeaway scattered among the magic and musical entertainment.

Pro-capitalism, personal responsibility and personal achievement: Mr. Banks expresses a certain amount of anger (of the kind most humans feel and express when it is pointed out to them that they are not behaving correctly) at the upsetting of his proscribed world by Mary Poppins, then is disgraced and fired from his position at the bank, but once he has learned the lesson that his children and their development are more important than money, he is restored to the rightful place at the bank in recognition of his hard work and achievement, as well as in recognition of the lessons his bosses have themselves learned about the important things in life. He will be a more well-rounded human being and a happier one in adding to, rather than subtracting from or replacing completely, his previous life.

Anti-feminism or at least anti-childish forms of protest: Mrs. Banks leads a dual life as a featherbrained suffragette and a completely submissive wife (“Ellen, put these [protest materials] away, you know how the cause infuriates Mr. Banks”). Her main form of interaction with her children is an occasional run of interference for them with their father. The writers’ benign contempt of her political activities is seen in the way she palms off the care of her children in order to go to Downing Street “to throw things at the Prime Minister” or to dash off to lead “our gallant ladies in prison” in song. Her transformation is more symbolic than her husband’s: The pageant banners she and her fellow suffragettes wear are sacrificed as kite-tails in the closing “family quality time” scene.

There is a danger in hanging too much political message on a piece of light entertainment; the objective of a happy ending alone is almost enough to explain these details away, but the “almost” makes it intriguing. These messages appear to come from the screenwriters rather than from the original Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers; though it’s been a while since I read them, the emphasis was more on the fantastic nature of Mary Poppins and her acquaintances, the theme more along the lines of “magical nanny makes household run smoothly and everybody happier” rather than teaching the parents to create this outcome themselves. And if I am misremembering somewhat, the mistake is slight: If the objective were to teach the family to help themselves, there would not be such a long string of sequels with titles like Mary Poppins Comes Back. Though the film, written by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi of many other Disney classics like Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Blackbeard’s Ghost, does a fine job of visually creating the magic of the central character Travers envisioned, Disney’s Mary Poppins combines a familiar set of lessons with a less common set of details that make it interesting and possibly downright anathema to feminists and anti-capitalists. To which I say, more power to ya, Mary.

Some Movies Shouldn’t Have Sequels

Filed under:Movies,Not Cool,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on December 2, 2007 @ 10:29 pm

Chalk X-Men 3 up to the board of movies I have to forget ever existed. Heck, might just roll back over X2 as well.


Filed under:Reviews,Television — posted by Anwyn on November 29, 2007 @ 11:04 pm

I’m watching Moonlight, that vampire show with Jason Dohring in a supporting role (for anyone whose brain is so full up with characters that she forgets the actors’ names, that means Logan’s in it) and Sophia Myles, David Tennant’s girlfriend (sob), as the female lead. The Whedonesquers were outraged upon first hearing of it, since a vampire P.I. is a disrespectful ripoff of one of their cancelled sacred cows. Ace and Petitedov both turned up their noses at it, and they have a point about some of the writing and some of the acting–but it’s the “some” that makes it interesting. If you keep yourself thinking “noir” instead of “wooden,” it really starts to work. The lead actor, Alex O’Loughlin, is pretty slick in a dry, straight-on D.B. Sweeney kind of way that I enjoy, and come on, how could anybody not love this exchange:

Girl Who’s Just Been Attacked: “Shouldn’t we call the police?”

Beth, whose apartment it is, hearing thumping and hollering from the bathroom: “I think Mick wanted to talk to him alone.”


Disgusting Bad Guy, chained to the bathroom sink after being roughed up a little: “You can’t do this. I have rights.”

Mick, Kick-Ass Vampire P.I.: “Yeah? You broke into a private home. I have the right to shoot you. I’m still considering that option.”

DBG: “You’re not a cop.”

Mick: “That’s right, so I don’t have to fill out paperwork in triplicate when I kick your ass again.”

See? Even Dawn Summers would like that. Oh yeah, no more TV for her, though.

I haven’t quite decided yet whether it hurts or helps that the show shares a producer with Veronica Mars and bears a strong affinity to it in terms of sets (Mick’s apartment is basically Duncan and Logan’s room in the Neptune Grand, and Mick’s office is more or less Keith’s) and even callbacks (a murdered girl from the pilot was a student at Hearst College). It’s nice but also a little melancholy, although I admit Chuck is helping me get over Veronica in record time.

Anyway, guilty pleasure it may be, but a few hack lines here and there don’t stop the plots from being fairly well wound and properly sprung. It’s about as different from Angel as any show about a vampire P.I. could reasonably be expected to be. And because I’m a sucker for the love story, kudos to the writers for not pulling the now overused “put ’em together then break ’em up quick” method of having cake and eating it too–they’re taking it comparatively slow and letting that part of it play out over time.

It certainly holds its own for a Friday night show.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace