Monday, 19 October 2009: Fall and fantasy

Fall leaves
Autumn leaves

On Saturday, 17 October 2009, Janice and I had considered going to a local pancake
breakfast or up to Salem, Massachusetts, for the pre-Halloween festivities. However, our plans were derailed when Janice noticed our water heater leaking, almost four years to the
day after the basement of our previous apartment flooded. Fortunately, only a few cardboard boxes were damaged this time, and our oil provider sent someone to repair the leak fairly quickly.

Instead of going down to Dedham and Norwood, Janice and I drove out to Framingham,
Mass., for a late lunch at Olive Garden. We then met Beruk A. and Thomas K.Y. to screen Where the Wild Things Are. The loose adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic book had convincing visual effects and good acting, but the movie probably had too much emotional depth for most children and wasn’t really marketed as being for adults. Of the previews we saw, only Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox intrigued me.

Yesterday’s early snowfall enabled me to clean up my basement and catch up on recorded

genre television. Among other things, I watched The Quest for King Arthur, a good History Channel International documentary on one of my favorite sets of legends.

As I write up notes for last night’s Pathfinder:Holy Steel” teleconferencing game and prepare for tonight’s D&D4eVanished Lands: the Faith-Based Initiativerole-playing session, it’s interesting to note that sword-and-sorcery fantasy isn’t well-represented on TV right now.

Despite cast changes and melodramatic rather than swashbuckling storylines, BBC
America’s Robin Hood has been good in its third (and presumably final) series. The addition of Friar Tuck, more focus on Robin’s political role as a Saxon rebel, and slightly fewer anachronisms have made this the lead historical fantasy on the air right now.

Fans of Hercules: the Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess can look
forward to Strarz’s sword-and-sandals Spartacus, coming later this autumn, as well as the return of the syndicated Legend of the Seeker, which Buffy/Angel alumna Charisma Carpenter will be joining.

Despite the latest wave of adolescent vampire romances, I’m still hoping that the relatively
cheap computer backdrops used in Sanctuary (which just returned) can enable high-quality literary adaptations or original heroic fantasy to be brought to TV. I’ll try to report more on my second takes of the current TV season later this week.