Thursday, April 26, 2007

Murder, By the Numbers...

So I signed up for NetFlix and maybe will actually watch some movies this summer when I'm bored. Though I seriously doubt I will actually get into the habit of watching movies on any regular basis. But in addition to the movies, of course, I noticed the plethora of TV series now available on DVD, including one of my favorite old shows, Murder, She Wrote. I remember we would watch Jessica Fletcher solve murders every Sunday night, after Andy Rooney went on some bizarre ramblings at the end of 60 minutes... it was one of those shows the whole family liked to watch. Over the years you begin to learn that every episode is basically the same, but with different people and a different setting:

Scene 1 - We meet the characters, whether at home in Cabot Cove, Maine, or somewhere else in the world. Somehow Jessica Fletcher knows people in literally every city in the world, whether it's London or Little Rock. Plus, everyone has read "all of her books" and recognize her presumably because of her picture on the book jacket, even though they've never met her. Sure, why not. Pay no attention to the fact that people die wherever she goes.

Scene 2 - Two characters get into a big fight, with plenty of witnesses, where one of them shouts, "I'm going to kill you!" The person ends up murdered shortly thereafter.

Scene 3 - The law is called in. The one who shouted it all is the prime suspect and all evidence points to him. [Note: the accused NEVER actually did it.] If we're at home, Sheriff Amos (or Sheriff Mort, depending on what season we're in) call upon Jessica to help them solve the crime. If we're off elsewhere in the world, the local detectives just want Mrs. Fletcher to butt-out. [Apparently the detectives aren't big readers, because they seem to be the only ones who have never heard of her.]

Scene 4 - Jessica gets in trouble with the law, or in some other awkward predicament, as she zealously investigates on her own. Throughout the episode, just watch for the camera to zoom in one some seemingly unimportant object... those are the clues that she will tie together in the end.

Scene 5 - Finally after everyone's finally concluded that the prime suspect didn't really do it... Jessica has it all figured out with a "He didn't do it, but I think I know who did..."

Scene 6 - The real murderer is caught in an elaborate trap set up by Jessica. She connects all the dots, and the murderer confesses (this isn't Law & Order, no time for a trial here). "Thanks Jessica, you saved the day!"

Change the scene, change the characters, and you've got an entire new episode. So it went for 12 seasons. Which brings me back to the inspiration for today's blog: how long would it take to watch every episode of Murder, She Wrote? Let's go to the numbers...

Seasons of Murder, She Wrote = 12
Total Episodes = 263
Length of each episode (w/o commercials) = 44 minutes
Total running time = 11572 minutes = 192 hours 52 minutes

At this point, only the first 6 seasons are actually available on DVD, but ultimately, if you were a) insane and b) obsessed and c) unemployed, you could watch every episode of Murder, She Wrote end to end in 8 days and 52 minutes. Oh, we can't forget the 4 made-for-tv movies plus the 2-hour pilot episode, which makes it 8 days, 8 hours and 12 minutes. And really, once you've watched MSW for 8 days straight, what's another 8 hours?

So who's ready to get started?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

April Update

Seeing it's the 25th of April and I have yet to make a post since March 31st, we'll call this the April update, and I will endeavor to give a whirlwind tour of the month so far.

I made it back safe and sound from the bonspiel in New Jersey. (Pictures are up in my photo album.) The trip was a lot of fun, but always nice to get home from far away. Being my first trip to the East Coast (besides Florida, which everyone agrees does not count), it was quite a bit of fun. I need to go back to NYC sometime soon.

Curling wrapped up another year of fun and excitement. I curled in three different leagues this year, and my respective teams did reasonably well in all three of them. My Sunday night team was runner-up in the B division, which was a victory considering how bad we did the first half of the season. My Thursday night team won the C division, and my Friday night team won the A division. [A note about the divisions: the general pattern for curling leagues are that at the beginning of the season, teams are randomly assigned into pools and play teams in their own pool. Half way through the season, for a two-division league anyway, the teams in the top half of each pool are put into the A division, and the bottom-half of each pool become the B division. That way in the second half, theoretically you're playing teams that more closely match your skill level. Still, winning the B division is vastly preferred to, say, coming in 5th in the A division. :)]

Now that curling is done, I'm finding myself with quite a bit of spare time on my hands... which is both nice and not. It gets a bit boring sitting at home all the time, so I have to find other things to do. My current goal is to go to the driving range at least once a week and get my golf skills a step-up from deplorable to respectable. :)

I've had such a terrible track record seeing movies I want to see. I think I'm going to get NetFlix for a few months and catch up on my movie watching. For the past, oh, 2 years or so I've consistently had movies that I've seen previews for and been "I want to see that", but never did. And considering I NEVER seem to go rent movies, I think having NetFlix will convince me to actually watch them occasionally and catch up seeing movies I've wanted to. The big challenge will be setting up my queue and trying to remember all the movies I've wanted to see. We'll try it for a month or so and see how it works out.

Last week I went and saw The Light in the Piazza at the Paramount. This will be an abbreviated review, which is probably what the show deserved. I think this show is hit-or-miss as far as the audience goes... and I think it had its fair share of misses. I've determined there are really three distinct audiences for the theatre... first, people who see theatre as an art form, meant to inspire, intrigue, and promote intellectual discussion on a social commentary of the world. Second, people who want to be entertained, whether in comedy, music, lavish scenery, fantasy reality, or any combination of those. And third, people who have such low standards they would give Rachael Ray microwaving a hot pocket a standing ovation.

I definitely fall firmly into the second category, but if the show crosses-over to cover both the first and second categories, I'm just as satisfied. I don't mind the occasional inspiration, but I definitely want to be entertained or awed by a show. I WANT to be humming a tune for a week after the show. The Light in the Piazza missed the mark with a lot of the audiences. While the show loosely may have inspired or intrigued someone, I don't think that's what it was trying to do, and if it was it failed miserably. I sat next to an older lady who came in by herself, and not to stereotype, but appeared definitely to be in the first category of audience I described. About halfway through the first act I looked over and she appeared to be in the most excrutiating agony and/or half asleep. She did not return for the second act. The music was very operatic in nature, which in turn made it difficult to understand a lot of the words during the songs, as well as just wasn't toe-tapping or hummable music. I think it missed the #1 or #2 audience hits, but there are plenty of #3 audience types who were on their feet at the end as usual.

As for my ratings:

Cast - 4 stars. My lackluster satisfaction with the show was, as usual, no discredit to the actors. Outstanding cast, and well performed.
Script - 3 stars. An interesting story, though nothing spectacular.
Music - 2 stars. The music wasn't bad, but did nothing for me. What would have been a good play without music was just muddled up with added music.
Technical - 3 stars. Not much more to say about that.
Overall - 3 stars. Probably more like 2.5 stars, but I'll round up in this case. I've seen it, it was worth seeing once, but I don't need to see it again in the future.

With that review out of the way, I'm caught up to this week. Not too much going on at all. I should get back to work, then figure out what to do with the rest of my day.