TV Time

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. This week, let’s all share our favorite TV show. Some of us have a bit of an addiction to television (that would be me), so this question was pretty tough to answer.

Christian: Kolchak: The Night Stalker. I remember watching re-runs as a kid (the two movies preceding the TV series came out before I was born) and being terrified and captivated in equal measures. It’s about a newspaper reporter, played by Darren McGavin, who investigates inexplicable crimes. It’s probably fair to say this show sparked my twin obsessions with writing and the supernatural. It was never very commercially successful, I think it was cancelled after a single season, but has since attained cult status. Well-deserved, too.

Mike: Frasier. Incomparable.

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Liam: This is going to date me, but I’m going to have to go with M*A*S*H*; this only because the ancient, black and white Maverick would really make me seem older than dirt. Today’s television just sucks.

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Renee: I think Liam hasn’t been watching the right shows. Yes, back in the day we had some excellent television, but a lot of it was sugar-coated, because you just couldn’t cover topics and show content we can now. Maybe some people see that as bad, but I don’t.

There are a ton of fantastic series from “today” that I’d list as favorites, including Lucifer, Ozark, House, Ray Donovan, Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who (I like the modern shows more than the original, sorrynotsorry), Banshee (first couple of seasons only), and Bosch. Right now, my ultimate, all-time favorite as to be The Handmaid’s Tale. Probably because it’s one of my favorite books. Elizabeth Moss’s portrayal of June Osborne (Offred) is FANTASTIC. I’m often disappointed with film adaptations of books I’ve loved, because the way the actors play favorite characters don’t match what’s in my head. Moss is better than anything I could’ve imagined.

Steve: Three million years into deep space- the mining ship Red Dwarf…

Red Dwarf is the greatest sci-fi comedy tv show ever made. There are slicker, there are better produced, but Red Dwarf stands out precisely because of its embracing of English crapness. When the last human alive is a ludicrous slob, and his only companion is the holographic resurrection of his uptight bunkmate, you already have a great premise for a sitcom. But the show rarely rests on the laurels of its high concept. The best humour is the banter between Lister and Rimmer, possibly one of the greatest comedy duos in TV history. Not only that, but the offhand references to life on earth in the not too distant future belay the low budget and tight sit-com dialogue, creating the kind of casual world building most sci-fi authors take books and book to achieve.

Katrina: I feel like there need to be categories here. One can’t just lump Keeping up With the Kardashians (my favorite mindless television) with Elementary (my favorite crime series) and expect to choose one or the other. However, if I were forced to watch one TV show for the rest of my life, I’d have to go with Doctor Who.

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Peter: This changes all the time, as I discover new things, but most recently I’ve really enjoyed Happy!, 13 Reasons Why, and Ozark. The only show I’ve watched more than once is The Wire which is awesome in my opinion, and I did love Dexter until that last ever episode destroyed everything.

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Tony: Without a doubt, Game of Thrones. Even though this is epic fantasy, something I don’t often read or watch, the series is so well written and played with second-to-none special effects, this is a clear winner. I watched the series twice and enjoyed it so much more the second time through. Runner up is Westworld, which again plays into a common theme I write. Honorable mention, The Wire. This is a genre I don’t often watch but I found this gripping. The portrayal of crime and the inner city culture, for the most part, was honest and revealing.

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We know you guys prefer books. I mean, TV? Pfft. It’s for ignorant heathens. Pick up a book, for crying out loud! Still, most of us have a guilty pleasure and TV is often in the list, so what’s your favorite show?

 

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2017 Horror Round-Up

By PJ Blakey-Novis

I read a lot of horror in 2017, way more than I used to, and so the following ten books are the ones which first came to mind. Of these, eight fall into the category of horror, with a mix of sub-genres. The remaining two were excellent reads of a different kind. They have all stood out, either because they were intensely gripping, shockingly disturbing, or at least had an element of originality.  So, in no particular order, my ten recommended reads are;

You Only Get One Shot by Kevin J. Kennedy & J.C. Michael

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I had been looking forward to reading this since listing it on my Halloween promotion in October, and I was not disappointed. You Only Get One Shot was a really enjoyable, original story. The authors had found a clever way of bringing a group of short stories together and adding a frightening connection between them all. A real pleasure to read.

 

 

 

 

 

Hades Gate by D.J. Doyle

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I was keen to read more from D.J. Doyle, after the fabulously disturbing Red, and Hades Gate did not disappoint. It was much less gruesome than Red, but carried an air of fear throughout. Hades Gate tells the story of a group of treasure hunters who find more than they bargained for in an underwater cave. Hades Gate is a short, action-packed, fear-filled ride that is highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

Hydrophobia: A Charity Anthology

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I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of Hydrophobia at the end of October. I then spent the next few evenings reading my way through the 29 short stories that authors had provided to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Essentially, it’s a horror anthology, but each story varies greatly in sub-genre. The continued theme throughout is water. Some, such as the wonderful Bunny and Clyde by Lisa Vasquez, were genuinely creepy. Others, such as Beyond the Ocean by Lisa Lane, were beautifully original. The Dust by William Stuart was another of my favourites. Out of 29 stories and poems, I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed almost all of them. I have no hesitation in recommending Hydrophobia, as a fantastic book, and as a great way to discover new writers.

X: A Collection of Horror by C.M. Saunders

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A fabulous collection of short horror stories, spanning a range of sub-genres. Each story is uniquely fascinating; the author expertly builds up tension without the need for excessive gore. There was also a great introduction to the book, which reads as a conversation with the author, and really draws you in from the very start. This was the first of C.M. Saunder’s work that I have read, and will definitely be checking out more.

 

 

 

 

Red: An Extreme Horror by D.J. Doyle

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So, this book caught my eye a few months ago, when I was in the early stages of preparing for my Halloween promotion, largely due the use of the word ‘extreme’ in the description. It was the first story that I had read from the author, so I genuinely had no idea what to expect. Since reading it, which I did in one sitting on a cold evening, I have recommended it to several people. Now, in the case of Red, extreme means extreme! If you are remotely squeamish then this is not the book for you. It’s a short read, and I don’t want to give too much away, but Red is essentially a serial killer story. It’s a little different to most as the story is told from the killer’s perspective, and the author does a fantastic job of taking the reader into the killer’s mind, his background, and the reasoning he uses to justify his behaviour; he just wants to find his princess. If you’re fine with some gore, and want an unsettling yet pleasurable way to spend an evening, you can’t go wrong grabbing a copy of Red.

 

 

 

Triggered: An Extreme Horror by Justin Tense

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If torture and gore are what you look for in a horror story, then Triggered may be just your thing. It tells the story of a wealthy horror writer exacting revenge on the three police officers who abused him in his youth. The story is short, and straight to the point, with some very imaginatively gruesome scenes. Not for the weak of stomach, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

 

Pleasure Seekers by Mike Krutz

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Back in October, I ran a Halloween promotion to showcase a different horror story each day of the month, (You can find the list on my blog). Pleasure Seekers was one that stood out for me, and not just because of the bright, simplistic cover. It is a short story at 85 pages, but what an adventure it was to read! The story takes place over one night in a city, as the lives of a host of unusual characters intertwine. The story was well paced, and beautifully written. It was easy to envisage the scenes as each one unfolded. Pleasure Seekers managed to combine a fascinating set of individual tales and weave them into a story that I can honestly see becoming a cult classic.

 

 

 

Manchester Vice by Jack Strange

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I was lucky enough receive an Advance Readers Copy of Jack Strange’s fantastic Manchester Vice. It was a really enjoyable thriller, told from the point of view of Brad Sharpe, a journalist turned serial killer. The story was well-paced, with short chapters, and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. At one point, I thought I had an upcoming twist figured out but I was wrong, which was a pleasant surprise. The ending was well thought out, and right up to the final chapter I did not know what to expect.

 

 

 

 

 

Noah Finn & The Art of Suicide by E. Rachael Hardcastle

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I was fortunate enough to receive an Advance Copy of Noah Finn and the Art of Suicide, knowing only that it dealt with delicate issues such as religion, death and the terrorist attack on September 11th 2001. As soon as I began reading, even by the end of the first chapter, I could see that this was something special. The story deals with Noah Finn, a janitor who had, up until September 11th, been trying to end his life. The story was complex enough to keep my interest, linking strings of incidents together as ‘The Universe’  played its role, with the help of Death, or Christopher Saint as he was called at this time. The connections between the characters were well thought out, and the writing was of an incredibly high standard. Overall, Noah Finn and the Art of Suicide was a thought-provoking, highly original, and sensitive story, with a splash of humour thrown in.

 

 

 

 

Holmes Volume 1 by Melvyn Small

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Firstly, a confession; I have never read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories but, of course, I am familiar with the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. This reimagining of their adventures brings them into the modern day, in which Dr Watson is a psychiatrist and meets Holmes through this capacity. The book comprises of six short mysteries, all intertwined. The whole book was a pleasure to read; beautifully written, with clever storylines which kept me guessing throughout. The character of Sherlock was described perfectly, giving the reader a real sense of what kind of man he was. There were several laugh-out-loud moments, usually at points where Sherlock had to interact with a policeman by the name of Lestrade. Overall, it was hugely entertaining, and I look forward to reading Volume 2.