Friday, 31 October 2014

'The Light Between Oceans' by M.L. Stedman (2012)

Synopsis: The Light Between Oceans is set in 1920s' Australia. Tom Sherbourne is a WWI veteran and a lighthouse keeper at Janus Rock. This is a tiny and remote island off the coast of Western Australia, at the place where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. Tom makes occasional visits to a seaside town on the mainland called Point Partageuse, and it's there that he meets a spirited young woman called Isabel. The two of them fall in love and eventually marry. Tom then takes Isabel back to Janus Rock. At first the two of them both love their solitary and peaceful environment but, after Isabel has two miscarriages and a stillborn birth, their marriage starts to become strained. After a storm a boat then drifts onto the island. On the boat they find a dead man and a crying baby girl. Tom wants to notify the proper authorities but Isabel insists that the baby is a blessing and persuades her husband into keeping the baby and raising her as their own. They name the baby Lucy and she becomes the light of their lives. However, Tom can never quite shake off his uneasiness about the situation and this intensifies when they go on a visit to Partageuse four years later. He learns that the baby's mother, Hannah, is still alive and is longing for news of her husband and her daughter Grace...

I have very mixed feelings about this book. There are certain things about it that I really liked. The premise is intriguing. There are some beautiful and vivid descriptions in the book and I really enjoyed its setting, both its historical setting and its geographic one. I've realised that most of the books that I read are set in either Britain or America so I've decided to broaden my horizons by reading more books that are set in other parts of the world. The fact that this book was set in Australia was really interesting to me. I enjoyed learning a bit more about life in Australia during the 1920s and, to me, there's something mystical about the oceans and lighthouses so I really liked the Janus Rock setting. But unfortunately I found Isabel so unlikeable and bratty that I couldn't sympathise with her at all. I was appalled by her selfishness! I know that she was grieving over the loss of her babies but that's no excuse for taking somebody else's child! Isabel knows that she could be taking a mother's child away but all that matters to her are her own selfish desires. She doesn't give anyone else a second thought. Isabel made me so angry that I couldn't feel sorry for her at all. I've read a lot of reviews where people said that they found this book to be a real tear-jerker but personally I just didn't find this book to be all that moving or memorable. In no way is this book bad but I can't see myself reading it again.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Chocolate Book Tag

Today is my Dad's birthday and also America's National Chocolate Day. I saw this tag on Hamlette's blog and I thought it looked fun :)

Dark Chocolate (a book that covers a dark topic)
Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. A murder-mystery told from the murderer's POV! Awesome! :D 

White Chocolate (a light and humorous read)
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. Imagine an Emma Woodhouse-like heroine going on holiday to Wuthering Heights and attempting to solve everyone's problems. This book is as funny as it sounds!

Milk Chocolate (a book with a lot of hype that you're dying to read)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I've heard a lot of great things about these two books and I'm really looking forward to reading them. I probably won't get round to them this year but they're definitely on my reading list for 2015! Wolf Hall is getting a star-studded BBC adaptation in 2015 which I'm also really looking forward to. It's starring Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, Mark Gatiss, David Bradley, Thomas Sangster and Emma Hiddleston (yep, Tom Hiddleston's sister!)

Caramel-filled Chocolate (a book that makes you feel all gooey inside)
Venetia by Georgette Heyer. I genuinely adored this book. The characters made me laugh and smile a lot and I got totally caught up in its romance. Also, its audiobook is read by Richard Armitage and his voice practically is caramel! :D

Wafer-less Kit-Kat (a book that surprised you)
Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. This is a fantastic book! It was so much more accessible and fascinating than I thought it was going to be! The characters are rich and complex and it's a truly compelling portrayal of 19th century Russian society. 

Snickers (a book you're going nuts about)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This book completely lived up to its hype. John Green's writing is beautiful and moving and funny. I adored Hazel and Augustus. I still think about this book a lot. And the film adaptation was brilliant too!

Hot Chocolate with Mini Marshmallows (a book you turn to for comfort)
I'm usually very strict when it comes to re-reading books. I won't usually let myself re-read a book until it's been at least 5 years since the last time I read it. But when I was a child/teen I would re-read a certain series over and over again: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I truly grew up with this series and I can't really put into words how much these books mean to me. They cheered me up so many times when I was a depressed and unhappy teenager, and I can still remember the intense anticipation and excitement of having to wait for the next book in the series. I'll be a Potterhead forever :)

A Box of Chocolates (a series you feel has something for everyone)
This is a tough one because the book series that I read are almost all fantasy and if you're not a fantasy reader - you poor, unfortunate soul! - then, well, I don't think I can recommend them to you sadly. I clearly need to expand my reading...

EDIT: I forgot to tag anyone for this so... everyone gets tagged! If you want to do the tag then do it :)

Monday, 27 October 2014

'Into the Woods' Trailer

Well! I've had my doubts about this movie because it's being directed by Rob Marshall. I've only seen a couple of his films but I thought Chicago was extremely overrated and I hated Nine. I have a friend who said his adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha was disappointing. All of my friends who've seen his Pirates of the Caribbean film told me that it was bad. But even though I don't have a very high opinion of Rob Marshall I'm still getting excited about this film. I've never seen the Stephen Sondheim musical live but I have the Broadway cast album and I love its songs. The cast for the film is pretty great. And this is a great trailer! It seems to be trying to hide the fact that it's based on a musical like the Sweeney Todd trailer did but I still like this trailer quite a lot!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

School of Thrones (2013)

School of Thrones is a three-episode web series and a modern-day parody of the HBO show Game of Thrones and its source material, George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. The web series is set in Westeros Valley High School and prom night is coming. The noble houses from Game of Thrones are now all high school cliques. The Starks are hipsters, the Greyjoys are a swim team, etc. Various students are soon battling it out to become the Prom King and Queen. The sibling rivalry between the brothers Stannis and Renly Baratheon comes to a head, and Sansa Stark goes against her clique by dating Joffrey Lannister. A new foreign exchange student called Dany Targayren is troubled by the high school bickering that's being caused by the prom night and decides to restore order to the school. The first episode of the web series is below:

This web series review isn't going to be in anywhere near as much depth as the other web series that I've covered on this blog so far (The Lizzie Bennet DiariesThe Autobiography of Jane EyreEmma Approved) because it's really hard to write about a 20 minute length web series in any kind of depth. So this will be a short post I'm afraid. 

I was disappointed by this web series. I was really excited about it when I first heard of it because a modern-day high school parody of Game of Thrones has huge potential for hilarity, and also because this web series features two actors from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The brilliant Mary Kate Wiles (Lydia Bennet) plays Sansa Stark in this and Maxwell Glick (Ricky Collins) plays Stannis Baratheon. But this web series just isn't very funny. There are a few mildly amusing moments in it yes, but there was nothing in it that made me laugh out loud or grin. And this is coming from a Game of Thrones fan who understood all of the references! If I wasn't a Game of Thrones fan I'd have found this web series even less amusing. Parodies shouldn't depend on the viewers' knowledge of the source material for their humour. I find Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein hilarious and yet I still haven't seen any of the old Frankenstein movies that the film parodies. You don't need to be a fan of gothic literature to find Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey funny and you don't need to have read Thomas Hardy or D.H. Lawrence to find Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm funny either. But I think only Game of Thrones fans would get the humour of School of Thrones and as I've already said I don't think this web series is very funny anyway. The production values of this web series are good though. Its title credits are genuinely impressive and are a great take on the amazing title credits of the HBO show. I also loved the fact that the actor playing Littlefinger in this web series looked so much like Aidan Gillen. When I first saw him I genuinely thought "Wow! How on earth did they manage to convince Aiden Gillen to star in this thing?!" :D

Rating: 2/5

'A Storm of Swords' by George R.R. Martin (2000)

Synopsis: A Storm of Swords is the third book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are still in the grip of a civil war and Joffrey Baratheon still sits on the Iron Throne. Catelyn Stark has released Jaime Lannister from captivity and he is now being escorted back to King's Landing by the female knight Brienne. Catelyn hopes that Jaime's freedom will secure the release of her daughters Sansa and Arya. Robb Stark is still waging war against the Lannisters but his kingdom has been lost to the Greyjoys. Robb will need to win back the support of Lord Walder Frey if he's to win back Winterfell. Arya Stark and her friends have escaped from Harrenhall and soon run into a band of outlaws called the Brotherhood Without Banners. After the Battle of Blackwater Bay, Davos Seaworth returns to Dragonstone. Davos blames Melisandre for Stannis Baratheon's defeat and the deaths of his sons. He tries to kill Melisandre and is then imprisoned for treason. In King's Landing, Tywin Lannister has taken over the position of the Hand. He soon arranges for Joffrey to marry Margaery Tyrell and for Sansa Stark to marry his son Tyrion. Neither Sansa or Tyrion are at all happy about this. Tyrion is also upset about the lack of appreciation for his role in saving King's Landing during the Battle of Blackwater and for the attempt on his life by one of Cersei's men. In the north, Bran Stark, his servant Hodor, and his friends Jojen and Meera Reed have escaped from Winterfell and are making their way to the Wall. Over the Wall, Samwell Tarly and the Night's Watch find themselves being attacked by the Others while Jon Snow has fallen in with the Wildlings and is now working undercover. In Essos, Daenerys Targaryren is still continuing in her mission to take the Iron Throne of her ancestors. Having been able to secure gold and a small number of ships, Dany travels to the cities of Slaver's Bay and considers whether to buy a vast slave army called the Unsullied. Instead Dany decides to free the slaves and to conquer the cities of the region.

A Storm of Swords is the book that Game of Thrones seasons three and four were based on and it's the overwhelming fan favourite out of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I'm not sure if it would be my personal favourite though. I think my favourite in the series is still A Game of Thrones but I only like it slightly more than this one. That book contains plenty of backstory and historical information but it still manages to be a brisk and fast-paced read. I found all of the different storylines in that book extremely interesting and not once did it drag for me. Also, when you know of all the tragic things that will later happen to the Starks it's so nice to go back and revisit the scenes where they're all together and happy! And alive! :) I found the pacing in A Storm of Swords to be a bit too slow at the start and there were a couple of storylines that I struggled with. For example: I'm still not a fan of Davos and I found Arya's storyline quite draggy and repetitive in this one, which really surprised me because her storyline in A Clash of Kings was tied with Tyrion's as being my favourite. Her scenes with Jaqen H'ghar in that book are awesome and I'm really hoping that he'll come back into the series at some point.

These minor things aside, A Storm of Swords is still a brilliant book and I continue to be blown away by the world and characters that George R.R. Martin has created. This book is a true epic and a massive gamechanger novel. It expands the story in so many different ways and so much happens in it! Although I did find the book a bit slow-paced at the start, once it gets going it becomes a truly gripping read. There are so many thrilling and suspenseful scenes in this book, so many twists and turns. We get the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding, Sansa's escape from King's Landing, the Battle at the Wall, Tyrion's trial, the Mountain vs the Red Viper, Dany's conquests of the Slaver's Bay cities, and Sansa's final chapter. The existing characters in the series change and develop so much in this book and we get some great new characters. I'm thinking of Oberyn Martell and Lady Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns.

I've decided not to comment on every single one of the character's storylines in these ASoIF reviews of mine, although maybe I'll do that at some point in the future when Martin eventually finishes his series. For now I'll just mention the POV characters that particularly grabbed my attention. In this book my absolute favourite POV characters were Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Their stories are full of action and drama, and they themselves get so many badass scenes and moments. I've become convinced that they're the major protagonists of A Song of Ice and Fire; that Jon represents the "ice" of the title and Dany the "fire". Jaime Lannister gets some terrific character development in this book as well. In A Game of Thrones Jaime seemed like a horrible person. He came across as cocky and smug and dreadfully immoral. But in this book Martin makes him a POV character and we get to understand Jaime more. We find out more about his backstory and how he views the world. We see him being humbled by the loss of his hand. On the inside, Jaime is actually a very different person to his father and sister. He really does have morals and a sense of honour. He has questionable morals and a complex sense of honour to be sure but, they're there! You can see that in his scenes with Brienne and during his final scene with Tyrion - which is so sad in the book :( I love a good redemption story and I really hope that Jaime finds his redemption by the end. Sansa's story becomes extremely gripping at the halfway point of this book as well, and I really enjoyed Bran and Tyrion's storylines.

Finishing A Storm of Swords was a bittersweet experience for me. From what I've gathered, no-one seems to think that the next two books in the ASoIaF are as good as the first three. I've heard that A Feast for Crows is a very Cersei heavy book, and that both A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons are too slow-paced and introduce too many new characters. That's made me think that the series has peaked with A Storm of Swords which makes me sad, but I'm trying to ignore what I've heard about the next two books and go into them with an open mind.

Rating: 5/5

P.S. A Storm of Swords is a huge book, so huge in fact that in the UK its paperback edition has been split into two separate volumes: Steel and Snow and Blood and Gold. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It makes the book much easier to carry around of course but you do pay more for it.

Friday, 24 October 2014

My Reactions to a 'Phantom of the Opera' article

Click here if you want to read the article I'm talking about. It really took me on an emotional rollercoaster!

  • What?! A Phantom of the Opera TV adaptation?! OMG, really?! There hasn't been a POTO adaptation for TV in over 20 years! Will it be Leroux faithful? Yay!
  • Wait, what... it's going to be set in "the sexy and cutthroat world of the modern-day music business?" Well that lost me right there! 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)

Death Comes to Pemberley is a three-hour BBC miniseries and an adaptation of P.D. James' murder-mystery novel, which is a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It was shown during the BBC's 2013 Christmas season and over three consecutive nights. 2013 was the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice so I suppose the BBC felt they ought to do something to mark the occasion. In Death Comes to Pemberley, Elizabeth Bennet (Anna Maxwell Martin) is now Mrs Darcy and has been happily married to her husband (Matthew Rhys) for six years. They live at Pemberley and have a young son. As the Darcys prepare for an annual summer ball they're shocked by the sudden and uninvited arrival of Elizabeth's youngest sister Lydia Wickham (Jenna Coleman). Lydia is in hysterics. She claims that her husband George (Matthew Goode) has been murdered in the woods. When Darcy organises a search party and goes off to investigate, it turns out that it was actually Wickham's best friend Captain Denny (Tom Canton) who was murdered. They find a drunken Wickham sobbing over Denny's corpse and apologising for killing his friend. Unsurprisingly Wickham becomes the prime suspect. Darcy is then faced with the task of trying to save Wickham from being hanged in order to save his family from scandal. Meanwhile, Elizabeth finds herself being puzzled by some odd coincidences. She saw a mysterious woman in the woods on the day of the murder and her neighbours are caring for a new baby. Darcy's younger sister Georgiana (Eleanor Tomlinson) is also being romantically pursued by both her cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam (Tom Ward) and a family friend called Mr Alveston (James Norton).

I'd initially been interested in reading the P.D. James book when it first came out but I was put off after reading some very negative reviews. But I wanted to watch something over Christmas and I do love Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who so I thought I'd at least give its adaptation a try. Maybe it would be an improvement on the book? Well, even though it's very flawed I genuinely quite liked this miniseries! I still haven't read the P.D. James book yet and, to be honest, I'm not even sure if I will since many reviews of this miniseries that I've read have confirmed my suspicion that it's an improvement on the book.

Not everyone will enjoy this miniseries and I can understand why. Considering that Death Comes to Pemberley is supposed to be a murder-mystery there's actually very little active detective work going on in it. Essentially, Darcy goes to court and watches all of the proceedings there while Elizabeth aimlessly wanders around the Pemberley estate and finds a few random clues. Death Comes to Pemberley works better as a period drama. Also, Colonel Fitzwilliam! What did they do to him?! The colonel doesn't get a huge amount of page-time in Pride and Prejudice but he still seems nice and amiable. In this he's cold, manipulative, rude and deeply unpleasant. Why?! Has something happened to him over the years to justify this change? It's never explained :S

My other major issue with this miniseries was its lead actors. Matthew Rhys's performance as Darcy isn't anything special. As Darcy he's... competent. He's not brilliant, he's not horrible, he's just decent. Anna Maxwell Martin disappointed me even more. Martin is in North and South and I really like her in that but I think she was completely miscast in DCtP. This might sound harsh but I think she was too old and plain to be playing Elizabeth. Martin isn't unattractive but, whenever she happened to be stood next to the beautiful Eleanor Tomlinson or Jenna Coleman, all I could think was that she looked more like my idea of Mary Bennet or Charlotte Lucas than my idea of Elizabeth. Also, Elizabeth is supposed to be 20 in Pride and Prejudice which would make her 26 in a sequel set six years after the events of that book. Martin was 36 at the time this miniseries was filmed and I actually think that she looks older than Matthew Rhys! I didn't like Anna Maxwell Martin's acting in the role either. I saw none of Elizabeth's wit, liveliness, self-confidence or sarcasm coming from her performance. Her acting isn't bad but she never really managed to convince me that I was watching Elizabeth Bennet Darcy. Finally, why are Elizabeth's dresses so plain in this?! Elizabeth is the mistress of Pemberley and her husband has £10,000 a year. Surely she should be wearing some fine clothes?! Even Lydia gets prettier and more expensive-looking dresses than Elizabeth does!

It's a real shame that the lead actors couldn't have been better cast in this because its supporting actors are all terrific. Jenna Coleman, Eleanor Tomlinson, Matthew Goode, and James Fleetwood and Rebecca Front as Mr and Mrs Bennet are all perfectly cast! The production values in this are clearly high too. It's beautifully-shot and it was filmed on location at Chatsworth House. Fans of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film will be especially delighted by this! The romance between Georgiana and Mr Alveston is sweet and engaging. There's also a very nice and subtle reference to Emma! In Episode Two, I think, Mrs Reynolds mentions that she's heard of a good boarding school near Highbury. I managed to miss this reference during my first watch!

Death Comes to Pemberley is pretty good fanfiction. Of course it never manages to do Austen's original book or characters full justice, but it's very enjoyable and is far better-written and acted than all of the other Pride and Prejudice fanfiction that I've come across (Lost in AustenPride and Prejudice and ZombiesAustenlandLongbourn). Fans of the book who aren't strict canon purists will probably find a lot to enjoy in this version. 

Rating: 3/5
Viewer Certificate Rating: 12

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Guardian's "1000 Novels Everyone Must Read"

I saw this on Manette's blog Music and My Mind and I thought I'd give it a try :) Basically The Guardian came up with a list of 1000 novels that they thought everyone should read over the course of their life. I don't necessarily agree with the concept of the list or the books that were chosen but I thought it would be a fun thing to do. The novels were chosen by The Guardian's own review team and a panel of expert judges. To find out your score you can go onto List Challenge. My score is:
  1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  3. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  5. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  6. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
  7. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding S
  8. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  9. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  10. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
  11. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  12. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  13. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  14. Dracula by Bram Stoker S
  15. Emma by Jane Austen
  16. Evelina by Frances Burney
  17. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  18. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley S
  19. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  20. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  21. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  22. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  23. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad S
  24. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
  25. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  26. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  27. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  28. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  29. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  30. A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines S
  31. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  32. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  33. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  34. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy ("It's not a trilogy!") by J.R.R. Tolkien
  35. Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore
  36. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  37. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
  38. Misery by Stephen King
  39. The Monk by Matthew Lewis S
  40. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  41. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  42. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  43. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
  44. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco S
  45. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  46. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  47. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  48. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
  49. Perfume by Patrick Suskind
  50. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  51. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  52. The Prestige by Christopher Priest
  53. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  54. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  55. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro S
  56. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  57. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
  58. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend
  59. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  60. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
  61. The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
  62. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
  63. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  64. Tess of the D'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
  65. Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
  66. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  67. Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
  68. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  69. Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
  70. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  71. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  72. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (This is a novella!) S
  73. Villette by Charlotte Bronte
  74. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks S
  75. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  76. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  77. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  78. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
S - Indicates that I had to study this book for school/university. All of the other books were read purely of my own volition. 

I decided to only include books that I've read and finished. If I had included unfinished series like The Hitch Hiker's Guide to The Galaxy and His Dark Materials then the total of the list would have been a little bit higher. There are also many more books on the list that I want to read but haven't got round to yet! The list of books on there that I want to read is probably double the size of the books that I've read!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Persuasion (1971)

This adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion is a four hour miniseries that was made by ITV Granada (although it's now being distributed by the BBC for some strange reason). As this miniseries has a much longer running time than both the 1995 and 2007 versions I was expecting it to be an extremely faithful adaptation. Was it? Er, sort of... Okay, yes, in many ways this version is very faithful to the book. We get to see scenes that were left out in the shorter adaptations. Dick Musgrove is mentioned. This adaptation is the only one that I've seen which provides the full and complete backstory of Mr Elliot. I like that they show Mr Elliot eloping with Mrs Clay and Sir Walter and Elizabeth Elliot's reactions to it. But if anything this adaptation is too faithful and reverential to the book. It contains a lot of boring and draggy scenes, scenes which are in Austen's novel and are fine there but simply don't translate onto screen very well. As an example, the opening scene of this miniseries has Sir Walter Elliot reading out loud from the Baronetage. This then cuts to the characters that he mentions being introduced on screen while Sir Walter provides a voiceover. I happen to like the opening scene in Austen's book but it made for extremely awkward viewing! And despite its lengthy running time the miniseries still left out a number of things from Austen's book that the shorter adaptations managed to fit in, like Charles Musgrove Jr breaking his collar bone and Anne's reunion with Wentworth being delayed.

One scene that I found particularly aggravating in this version is the scene where Lady Russell and Anne talk about Anne's engagement with Wentworth. Lady Russell keeps insisting that Anne was never really in love with Wentworth and that she only accepted his proposal because he was the only man who'd ever paid her any attention. Er, what? It's been about four or five years since I last read Persuasion but I really can't remember that being a reason why Lady Russell persuaded Anne to break off the engagement in the book! Correct me if I'm wrong.

This miniseries has also got the most horrible costumes that I've seen in a Jane Austen adaptation since the 1940 Pride and Prejudice film. Anne gets some absolutely hideous dresses! All of the costumes in this version are bad but for some reason poor Anne gets all of the worst ones! And her horrible hairstyles! I mean, just look at her hair in the picture on your right. I didn't like Ann Firbank's acting as Anne either. She manages to capture some of Anne's warmth but I thought she was too cheerful and content in the role. Her Anne doesn't look as though she's feeling deep emotions under the surface, she looks as though she isn't feeling any emotions at all. Ann Firbank was also much too old for the role. Anne is 27 in Austen's book but Firbank was close to 40 at the time and she looks it. She definitely looks like the oldest Elliot sister and she even has tiny wrinkles around her eyes. Bryan Marshall's performance as Wentworth isn't anything special either. Most of the time I found him quite bland and I was put off by his looks. He has ridiculously long sideburns and I didn't find him attractive or rugged enough. As the actor playing Captain Harville in this version was fairly good-looking and charming I found myself wishing that he'd been cast as Wentworth instead. Also, although I believe that Marshall was in his early 30s at the time he looks much older than that. I could very easily believe him to be in his 50s! There wasn't a great deal of chemistry between Anne and Wentworth in this version either.

My favourite actor in this production was Valerie Gearon who played Elizabeth Elliot. Although I wouldn't say that her Elizabeth is beautiful Gearon does capture Book Elizabeth's elegance, coldness and haughtiness extremely well. She was probably my favourite thing about this miniseries actually. My least favourite actor in this version was Zhivila Roche who played Louisa Musgrove. In the book Louisa is vivacious and exuberant but Roche's Louisa is much too silly and giggly. She's too over the top. The scene where she shrieks "To Lyme! To Lyme! To Lyme!" made me put my head in my hands. What does Wentworth see in this Louisa?! How could anyone think that she and Wentworth would be a good couple?! The acting from everyone else in this cast is merely decent. No-one is horrible but no-one is outstanding either.

As you can probably tell I really didn't like this adaptation very much! I didn't find it as infuriating as the 2007 adaptation. Unlike the 2007 version there weren't any scenes that made me genuinely angry. They didn't ruin the ending. And yet this miniseries is just so BORING for the most part! I saw none of the beauty and the passion of the book. There were a few little things about this version that I liked but not much. The only Persuasion adaptation that I could actually recommend is the 1995 BBC film.

Rating: 2/5

Saturday, 11 October 2014

'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' by Washington Irving (1820)

Synopsis: The year is 1790. Ichabod Crane, an extremely superstitious schoolteacher from Connecticut, moves to a small Dutch settlement called Sleepy Hollow in upstate New York. One of Ichabod's pupils is a beautiful 18 year old girl called Katrina Van Tassel who is the only child of the wealthiest farmer in the town. Ichabod attempts to court Katrina but soon discovers that he has a rival called Bram Bones who is the town hero. Ichabod then becomes the victim of cruel practical jokes as Bram attempts to make Ichabod look like a fool in front of Katrina. Ichabod then accepts an invitation to a large party at the Van Tassel's estate. At the party, Ichabod overhears several locals talking about the local legend of the Headless Horseman. The Horseman is said to be the ghost of a Hessian soldier who had his head shot off by a cannonball during the American Revolution. When Ichabod leaves the party he then finds himself being chased by a mysterious figure on the lonely road back to his house.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a story that I'd been wanting to read for quite a long time. Both this story and Irving's Rip Van Winkle are classics of American literature but Irving wrote them when he was living in Birmingham, England. That's where I'm from! The other reason why I've been wanting to read this story for quite a while is because I'm a big fan of two of its adaptations. I'm extremely fond of the 1999 Tim Burton film and last year I completely fell in love with the new Sleepy Hollow TV show. The show is set in the modern-day and tonally it's kind of like a cross between Sherlock and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season two isn't being aired in the UK until 15 October and I'm so excited for it! :)

Washington Irving's short story is as different to those two adaptations as those two adaptations differ from each other. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow isn't really a proper ghost story and Ichabod is a coward and not at all handsome. And yet I was actually very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story! Irving was a great writer and I can definitely understand why the story is considered a classic. It's really quite enchanting and beautiful. The writing is full of charming and lovely descriptions of Autumn, the Hudson Valley, and the people and animals who live there. It's surprisingly funny in places too. I especially liked the part where Ichabod went over to the Van Tassel's estate and got ridiculously excited over all of the food that he could eat.

After I read this story I was thrilled to discover that there was a free audiobook version of it on Audible with Tom Mison as the narrator. Tom Mison plays Ichabod Crane in the Sleepy Hollow TV show and I absolutely love him in the role! If you're a period drama fan then you might also know him from his minor roles in Lost in Austen and Parade's End. Mison does a brilliant job reading this story and I would completely recommend the audiobook. He has a gorgeous voice and his acting really brings the spookier elements of the story to life. Also, it's free!

Although I personally find the TV show and the Tim Burton film more entertaining I still thoroughly enjoyed this story and I'm happy to say that I really like all of the versions of the Sleepy Hollow story that I've come across.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

'The Theory of Everything' Trailer

Well, this film certainly looks rather wonderful! :)

'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare (1623)

Synopsis: Macbeth is set in medieval Scotland. It opens with a scene of three sinister witches gathering together during a thunderstorm. King Duncan of Scotland and his army, led by the nobleman Macbeth, have won a great victory in battle against the King of Norway. Later that night, Macbeth and his friend Banquo go travelling across the heath and encounter the three witches. They promise Macbeth that he will one day become the king of Scotland. When Macbeth is made the Thane of Cawdor he naturally begins to think that he will be the next in line for the throne. When King Duncan then visits their castle, Lady Macbeth persuades her husband to murder the king and frame a couple of innocent servants for it. As the witches prophesied, Macbeth becomes the new king of Scotland. However, since the witches also predicted that Banquo would be the father of kings, Macbeth hires assassins to kill Banquo and his young son. He also sends assassins after a thane called Macduff, who is suspicious of him, and all of Macduff's family. Fear, madness and guilt tear Macbeth and his wife apart.

Macbeth is an extremely powerful play. It's full of intense and emotional dialogue and some of its scenes are downright iconic (the opening scene, Banquo's ghost crashing the party, Lady Macbeth trying to scrub her hands clean). At the time Macbeth was written the House of Tudor was no longer on the English throne and it was King James I of the Scottish House of Stuart who reigned. Shakespeare probably wrote Macbeth as a present for the king. The Stuarts believed themselves to be the descendants of Banquo and James I was obsessed with the supernatural. James would have certainly found the play interesting because when it comes to the supernatural the play completely delivers. It's got storms, menacing witches, ghosts covered in blood, prophecies, omens, murder, and an ominous and eerie atmosphere throughout. As someone who loves gothic literature I thought this was just marvellous! :)

As a character, Macbeth is both fascinating and despicable. At the start of the play he seems decent enough but his insecurities about his masculinity and the pressure from his ruthlessly ambitious wife drives him into doing some appalling acts of violence. By the end of the play he's become a paranoid, homicidal lunatic. Lady Macbeth isn't all that much better although interestingly she does show some signs of genuine remorse towards the end. By far the most sympathetic character in the play is Macduff. It's really not long before you'll start rooting for the man to take Macbeth down.

Macbeth isn't my favourite out of the Shakespearean tragedies that I've read so far. This is partly because of the way that the "No man born of a woman" conclusion is handled. It's... well surely I can't be only one who thinks it's a bit weak?! And even in the time that the play is set I'm sure that a caesarian would still have counted as being "born of a woman!" But I still think that Macbeth is a brilliant play. I don't rate it as highly as Hamlet and Othello, which are my favourite Shakespeare tragedies, but I like it slightly more than Coriolanus and a lot more than Romeo and Juliet and King Lear. It's a powerful story about evil and how we can be consumed by it.

Rating: 4.5/5

P.S. Recently I also watched a filmed stage production of the play from 1981. It starred Jeremy Brett and Piper Laurie as Macbeth and his wife. I've never seen Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes but I do really love his performances in My Fair Lady and the BBC's Rebecca so I was looking forward to seeing him as Macbeth. But oh dear! Unfortunately the production is hampered by some horrible direction. Scenes which should have been creepy I found unintentionally hilarious! I didn't like Piper Laurie as Lady Macbeth. In fact most of the actors in this production were bad and the only scenes that I actually liked were Brett's solo scenes and soliloquies. Such a pity. I'm really excited about seeing the upcoming Michael Fassbender-Marion Cotillard Macbeth film though! :)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Psalm 73

This morning I dreamt about Alan Henning and woke up crying. Recently he was beheaded by IS. He went to give aid in Syria because he wanted to help children. I try not to let the news affect me but this really did. This verse has given me some comfort though so I thought I'd share.

Psalm 73
A psalm of Asaph.

1 Surely God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
    I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
    when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
    their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens;
    they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
    they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
    their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
    with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
    and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
    and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How would God know?
    Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
    always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,
    I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
    it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
    then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
    you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
    when you arise, Lord,
    you will despise them as fantasies.
21 When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.

Friday, 3 October 2014

'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn (2012)

Synopsis: On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, a man called Nick Dunne comes home to find that his wife Amy has vanished. The front door has been left wide open and there are signs of a struggle. Nick and Amy's marriage has been strained for quite some time. After they both lost their jobs in New York City they moved to a house in Nick's home town in Missouri which was much to Amy's displeasure. Amy is the beautiful daughter of two famous authors who wrote a series of children's books based on her life so naturally her disappearance creates a media frenzy. It's not long before both the police and the media identify Nick as their prime suspect. There's a strange search in his browser history, there's some odd activity in his bank account, and he seems unemotional in front of the cameras and news teams. Nick pleads his innocence but only his twin sister Margo believes him. His case looks doomed. Gone Girl is told in alternating perspectives. We read Nick's present-day narration in addition to Amy's diary which starts seven years earlier.

Warning! I won't be able to review this book without giving some major spoilers away. Also if you're a fan of this book then you might want to stop reading now. I thought it was terrible.

Up until very recently I hadn't been remotely interested in Gone Girl. I'm just not into thriller novels. I've never felt the slightest interest in reading anything by James Patterson, John Grisham, Lee Child, David Baldacci and authors of that ilk. So even when I kept hearing about this book I didn't feel any great urge to read it. But in the end I was finally won over when I saw the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation. The film stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris with David Fincher directing. The trailer is great - very tense and atmospheric - and it made me think "Ah, okay, I might just have to read the book after all!"

In my copy of this book, both its opening and closing pages are full of quotes from literary critics who gush over the book's "brilliant writing", "psychological complexity", "suspense" and "thought-provoking themes". Now sometimes I agree with the critics and sometimes I don't. This is one of those occasions when I really didn't. I think the writing in Gone Girl is completely mediocre. I found the prose workmanlike and not at all special. The book is full of disgusting sexual references and strong profanity. I certainly didn't find this book suspenseful or gripping. I found the vast majority of the book incredibly tedious. And the characters are so unbelievable!

Nick and Amy are both extremely unlikeable, horrible and messed-up people but they're unbelievably so. I'm not one of those readers who can't enjoy books unless they feature characters that I can like and relate to. I can think of quite a few books that I've loved which feature a lot of unlikeable characters: Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby, Macbeth, Tess of the D'Ubervilles. Heck, the main character in Lolita is a paedophile! I won't mind if the main characters in a book aren't likeable just as long as they're fascinating and well-developed. Nick and Amy aren't. Amy is supposed to be a psychopathic evil genius. She's supposed to be brilliant and manipulative. She's spent almost a year planning to frame her husband for her murder in perfect, meticulous detail. And yet as soon as Amy disappears she turns into a gullible, incompetent idiot! She gets tricked by her neighbours and robbed after only a few days. She falls for Nick all over again when she watches him give a "heartfelt" interview on TV. Nick didn't deserve to be framed for murder but he's no less annoying to read about. He shows no concern about Amy whatsoever when she vanishes! He just keeps complaining endlessly and endlessly about how everyone takes everything he says the wrong way and how miserable his marriage was. And this is long before Nick knows that Amy's framed him for murder so he should be feeling concerned about her! What kind of a man doesn't express any concern for his wife when she vanishes?! I don't care that Nick and Amy's marriage was on the rocks. I don't care that some people might think I'm a naive idealist. I refuse to believe that anyone could act that way.

Some of the critics seem to like Gone Girl because they think it provides a thought-provoking commentary on marriage and how two people can never really know each other. But how?! :S How does the book pull off these themes exactly? How many people get so ticked off with their spouse for having an affair that they decide to fake their death and frame them for murder? How many people marry a psychopath without realising it? The book can't be providing a commentary on all marriages and relationships!

I came very close to giving up on Gone Girl numerous times. I only finished it because I'd heard that this book had a controversial ending and I felt I should probably give my opinion on it. My opinion? Hahahahahaha! Seriously?! Oh wow! It's absolutely ridiculous! I'm guessing that even the film-makers know it sucks because it's been confirmed that the film adaptation has changed the ending. That - and the film's cast and director - makes me think that the film will probably be an improvement on the book but I'm in no hurry to see if that's the case. I'm not going to see the film at the cinema now. This will be one of those "Wait until it's out on TV" movies. 

This book and I are 100% done.

Rating: 0.5/5

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Janeite Tag

I've been tagged by Evie Brandon of A Period Drama Fangirl. Thank you, Evie!

The Rules:
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you. (Check!)
  • Tell us how you were introduced to Jane Austen and share one fun fact about your Janeite life (this fun fact can be anything from "I stayed up all night reading Emma" to "I visited Chawton and met Anna Chancellor.").
  • Answer the tagger's questions.
  • Write seven questions of your own.
  • Tag as few as one or as many as seven other Janeites and let them know you've tagged them.

How I was introduced to Jane Austen
Well, I first became vaguely aware of Jane Austen from when I was about 7 because my mom watched the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice when it was first shown on TV. I wasn't at all interested in watching it but when I was about 12 or 13 I saw a copy of Pride and Prejudice in the school library. I read it and I remember really liking it. Now I would love to say that it was from this point onwards that I became a massive Jane Austen fan and read all of the books and saw all of the adaptations blah, blah, blah but sadly that didn't happen. I pretty much forgot about Jane Austen - oh the shame, the shame! - until I was 18 and re-read Pride and Prejudice over the Christmas holidays. This time around I loved the book! :D Once I was done with Pride and Prejudice, I read Sense and Sensibility and watched the 1995 film. During the Easter holidays I then read Emma and Persuasion. During the Summer holidays I read Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park. Then I watched lots of the adaptations and the following year I read Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sanditon. I've been a huge Jane Austen for the last seven years :) I've read all of the books at least twice and I'm planning to re-read them all again in 2015. 

A fun fact about my Janeite life
I've been to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath twice. 

What is your favourite Jane Austen minor couple?
Er, I don't tend to get very shippy over the minor Austen couples. But saying that I did find Harriet and Robert Martin in Emma Approved disgustingly adorable. And even though it's not canon I shipped Georgiana Darcy and Henry Alveston in Death Comes to Pemberley. They were so cute!

Would you rather spend a weekend with Mr Wickham or Mr Willoughby?
I'd go for Willoughby, purely because he has a nice estate.

You've been invited to a ball, what is your first reaction?
Mmm.. I like the idea of a ball but in reality I really don't think I would. So "pleased but not overwhelmingly excited?"

If you could choose a Jane Austen home to live in what would you choose? Netherfield? Pemberley?
Pemberley would be my number one choice but I'd happily settle for Barton Cottage. 

Chatsworth House (Pemberley in P&P 2005 and Death Comes to Pemberley)

Barton Cottage in S&S 1995

Barton Cottage in S&S (2008)

Darcy or Bingley?

Brandon or Ferrars?

Knightley or Captain Wentworth?

Which character are you most like?
I relate the most to Elizabeth Bennet but I can see glimpses of myself in quite a few of Austen's characters. I have the dramatic tendencies of Marianne, I can be over-imaginative like Catherine Morland, I have the social awkwardness of Darcy :D

My Questions:
  1. What is your favourite Jane Austen novel?
  2. Who is your favourite Austen hero and heroine? (I guess that could be considered two questions!)
  3. Who is your favourite secondary character?
  4. Which relative of any of Austen's heroines/heroes do you find most annoying?
  5. Provide up to five of your favourite Austen quotes. (I know, hard! Just pick a few random quotes that you love. They don't have to be your absolute favourites)
  6. What is your favourite adaptation for each of Austen's books?
  7. Are there any books that you would recommend to a fellow Janeite? For example: some books that I would recommend to a fellow Jane Austen fan are Much Ado About Nothing, North and South and Cold Comfort Farm.
I tag:
  1. Samara of Wait + Hope
  2. Bookwormans of Complete and Unabridged
  3. Hamlette of The Edge of the Precipice
  4. Sarah of How To Watch a Movie
  5. Ruby Danderfluff of We'll See How This Goes
  6. Miss Dashwood of Yet Another Period Drama Blog
  7. And anyone else who wants to do this tag!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

My Obscure Fandoms

Over the past few years I've come to realise that I get far more passionate about stories than most people. Most of the people that I know simply can't understand how I can love, say, Les Miserables or Sherlock so much. They don't understand how I can be a crazy, nerdy, obsessive fan and I can't understand what it's like to be a casual fan. How can they have such... polite affections? To love is to burn, people! :D That's one of the reasons why I enjoy spending so much time on the Internet. The Bloggers that I talk to are very cool people and understand this attitude. But you know what's even more frustrating? When you're a fan of something with a tiny fandom - something so obscure that the average person on the street won't have heard of it and not even all that many people on the Internet talk about it. At first it can be pretty cool when you discover something that hardly anyone has heard of, I must admit. You kind of feel that you've stumbled into a small and highly exclusive secret society. Well, I feel like that at first anyway! But after a while I'll start to find it depressing that so few people know about the awesomeness of this particular thing. It makes me feel sad that not enough people are appreciating its brilliance. So, here's a little list of things that I love that not many other people do. I've narrowed it down to seven things.

The Fall (2006)

The Fall is an indie film with a small but passionate cult following. I only watched this film for the first time a few months ago but oh my word how I love it! I'm planning to write a more in-depth review of it before the year is out. The Fall is one of my absolute favourites: definitely my favourite film that isn't based on a book. It is truly magnificent. It's visually breathtaking. Its two lead actors Lee Pace and Catinca Untaru are both astonishingly good. The story is incredibly moving and is full of heart. This is a story that's actually about stories. It reminds us of how important they are and of how they can lift us out of depression. As a literature nerd how could I not love that?! This film is absolutely beautiful and it makes my heart ache that hardly anyone has heard of it :( It means sooo much to me!

Cabin Pressure (2008-)

This is a BBC Radio 4 sit-com about the wacky antics of an oddball aeroplane crew as they fly all over the world. The most famous actor in it is Benedict Cumberbatch. You may have heard of him ;) Yes, you've probably already worked out why I started listening to this radio sitcom but it really is brilliant. It's absolutely hilarious and it's made me laugh hard! As in, "hysterical laughter with tears in my eyes" hard. All of its actors are wonderful and the characters are all hugely likeable and endearing. Sadly the show will be finishing soon. The final episode Zurich will be played at around Christmas time this year. Cabin Pressure is seriously one of my favourite comedies ever and I'm really going to miss it!

The Phantom of the Opera (1990)

If I were to ask a random person on the street whether they'd heard of The Phantom of the Opera I'm sure they'd say "yes" but the first thing that would probably come into their head is the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I love the ALW musical! But there's another Phantom of the Opera adaptation that I really love as well and no-one outside the Phantom fandom knows about it! The 1990 adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera is a three-hour miniseries adaptation of the book. It stars Charles Dance as the Phantom and it's fantastic! I love it almost as much as the ALW version! This miniseries isn't a very faithful adaptation of Gaston Leroux's book I have to admit. Sadly they changed the Phantom's backstory and swapped Raoul's character with his older brother Philippe. Why they felt the need to do these things I don't know! But despite these changes to the story I really can't help but love this version, and if you're a Phantom fan and go into this thing with an open mind then I think it's quite likely you'll think the same. It's a truly beautiful and emotional take on the story and, to date, it's still the only Phantom adaptation that was actually shot in Paris and at the Opera Garnier! It's on YouTube if anyone is interested in watching it :) Hopefully you are!


Around this time last year I took part in a "Celebrate Musicals" blog party which gave me an excellent opportunity to talk about this gem of a musical. Elisabeth is an Austrian musical and is based on the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. In Britain and America it's frightfully obscure but I believe that in Austria, Germany and Central Europe it's much more widely-known. I adore this musical! I found out about it on a Facebook group about three or four years ago and then discovered that a girl on YouTube had uploaded its 10th anniversary concert with English subtitles. I watched the whole thing and fell in love! The songs, the story and the acting are just plain awesome! :D I'm not going to go into very much depth about the musical's plot here but if you click onto the "Celebrate Musicals Week" tag on my blog you'll be able to read my review of the show - in addition to my West End/Broadway Dream Cast.

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

For a Disney film this is pretty obscure. When I was about six the teacher asked my class what their favourite films were. I shot my hand up and I said this film. There were many blank looks. *sigh* The Great Mouse Detective is basically Disney's take on Sherlock Holmes and it's absolutely fantastic! It's in my Disney top three - along with Beauty and the Beast and Tangled - and it's a wonderful and affectionate homage to Sherlock Holmes. Basil is actually one of the best and most accurate portrayals of Sherlock Holmes that I've yet seen. Definitely more Benedict Cumberbatch than Robert Downey Jr or Jonny Lee Miller! This is another film that I want to review fairly soon.

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008)

To be fair this musical seems to be very famous online but the average person on the street probably won't have heard of it so I feel justified in including it. Dr Horrible is a short musical that was created by Joss Whedon and it was made exclusively for the Internet. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day and it deservedly won many awards. The story is brilliant! It's told from the POV of a super villain for crying out loud! Could that be any more awesome?! This musical is laugh out loud funny. It's sweet. It's sad. It has great songs. And it's on YouTube! Joss Whedon really wants to do a sequel for it but he keeps being delayed by a little movie franchise called The Avengers. You may have heard of it. I think it did fairly well at the box office.

Jekyll (2007)

To my shame I almost forgot about this one so I had to go back and edit it in! Ahem... If you thought Sherlock was Steven Moffat's first modern-day adaptation of a classic then think again. Before Sherlock there was Jekyll - Moffat's fantastic and criminally underrated take on the Jekyll and Hyde story. This miniseries has a far darker tone than Sherlock but it's still very funny in places. James Nesbit - Bofur from The Hobbit - gives a surprisingly brilliant performance as both Jekyll and Hyde. Mark Gatiss makes a terrific cameo appearance. And the ending of this miniseries literally made my jaw drop!

So, hopefully I've piqued your interest in these obscure fandoms of mine! That was my agenda in writing this post after all! I want more people to share these fandoms with! If you like any of these things already then let me know because it would make me so happy! :) But it's only fair that I give you the opportunity to return the favour too. Do you have any obscure fandoms? If so then let me know! If they sound like something I'd enjoy then I'll probably check them out for myself at some point!