Monday, December 19, 2016

I Watch TV: Private Eyes

(For this review I shall award a (+) for things I like and a (-) for things I don't. Some of these will be explained and some won't.)

Private Eyes(-*) is a Canadian TV Crime show(+) whose first season had ten episodes in 2016. Jason Priestley is a charming ex- Ice Hockey player called Matt Shade(-) nicknamed The Shadow(+) who gets caught up in a mystery while scouting for new players(+). After solving it with some help from a private detective his Dad knows he decides that the world of Ice Hockey is too dirty for him(+) and instead teams up to solve crimes with Angie Everett (Cindy Simpson) (+).

Shade lives with his Dad and also his daughter, who is blind. This dynamic should be familiar to viewers of Castle(+-**). His ex-wife makes her appearance about halfway through the run leading to possibly the funniest scene in which Shade accidentally finds himself roped in to auditioning for a TV show with her, Exes For Breakfast(+).

So if this is a Castle clone, what does it bring to the table to differentiate itself? Firstly, as a Canadian show it is set in Toronto, which is a nice change(+). Sadly other than the waterfront and shots of the CN tower there's little to differentiate it from other North American cities I'm unfamiliar with(-***). There are a few particularly Canadian touches; the first time Angie and Shade go on a stake out she has a sleeping bag to keep warm while he is inevitably cold. Each episode touches on a particular place, scene, or crime in Canada(+), sometimes with actual Toronto celebrities who I do not recognise at all. Many of these are sort of generic(-) others kind of interesting (I mean I didn't know Toronto has a hip-hop scene(+) but obviously it does, and now I do know).

As Private Eyes* they see a lot of different crimes(+) a lot of thefts and missing persons and so on(+) with of course the occasional murder(-****). They work sometimes with, and sometimes at odds with the police(+) who only have two detectives available, but this is Canada I suppose(+). Sadly they are not Mounties(-).

The starting theme tune is the Hall and Oates song Private Eyes(+) but it is a cover of some sort(-) but the end theme is different each episode, usually a good choice and relevant, so the first episode has the original Hall and Oates version(+).

Watch This: For a slightly quirky amusing crime show exploring the seamy underside of Toronto
Don't Watch This: If charming protagonists making light hearted fun about crime in a slightly formulaic manner is not your thing. Or you can't bring yourself to watch a show about private eyes called Private Eyes.
Final Score:
(+) 20 including 3 that were actually for Castle
(-) 11 with 3 of those for Castle.

* Ugh, title.
** Look, I liked Castle(+++). But the premise was dumb(-) and it went on to long (is it still going on? No, apparently it finished earlier this year. Ho hum) so it became formulaic(-) and the will-they-won't-they kept getting reset(-).
*** Full disclosure: I visited Toronto for about five days twenty five years ago.
**** Murder is of course the greatest crime (that you can make a serial show about) but also a specialised one that private investigators shouldn't get involved with. Of course both the police and (mostly) Angie agree with that principle, but they deal with it anyway(+) because television.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Six-Gun Cheesemonger

Against my better judgement I have published an e-book called Six-Gun Cheesemonger.

John Deere Chuckwagon circa 1885
It is about 9000 words long (Amazon estimates the equivalent of 35 pages) and as the cover suggests consists of 6 very silly Western stories involving cheese. It makes no pretence to be historically accurate and is probably a big waste of everybody's time.

It is for sale now at Smashwords (various formats) and also at Amazon for the Kindle.

It is however very cheap so it has that going for it.

I will now return you to the regularly scheduled silence of this blog.