Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Castle & Le Tour de France

I recently finished watching the third season of Castle, and I have to say that the series is easily one of the best TV series I've ever watched. It started off a tad slow in the first two seasons, but it's really kicked up a few gears lately.

I first started watching it because it has Nathan Fillion in it, and he's one of my favourite actors. Thought he was fantastic in Firefly, and he's also brilliant in Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog (both of which are fantastic shows, and I'd recommend them to anyone). He was in Desperate Housewives as well but that's a bit gay so I didn't watch that so much. It helps somewhat that he gets awesome characters, and his role in Castle is pretty similar in many respects to Capt. Reynolds in Firefly, but part of the reason I think he's so awesome is that he seems to have the same sort of character in real life as well. His twitter is fairly amusing, he was well known for joking around on the set of Firefly, and his photobombing exploits are almost unrivalled. Stana Katic is pretty brilliant in her role as well (and she's also smoking hawt).

The easiest show to compare Castle to would be House M.D., because they both follow a fairly similar formula. House solves medical mysteries, whilst Castle helps solve murders, but the basic bread and butter episodes feel the same. The difference I would say is that I don't particularly understand the finer intricacies of medical diagnostics, and most House episodes boil down to "Oh he's ill, we think it's this, oh apparently it's not. Maybe it's something else? No, not that either. This? Oh lol turns out it's actually this crazy thing." Murder mysteries hop around in a similar matter, but the plot twists are actually completely followable and not shrouded in the mysteries of medical jargon.

Where the shows both really excel though, are in the long-running episodes where the writing staff clearly go completely all-out. The regular episodes are fairly episodic and stand-alone, but the ones that continue a plot can really be epic. I've generally regarded the House season finales to be some of the finest pieces of television ever made, and recently Castle has definitely been getting up into that region. The two-parter episodes in the middle of the last two seasons have also been absolutely brilliant. I can't wait for season four, and I'd recommend people give it a shot. If you're not a fan of downloading and watching TV over the internet, then it's also apparently airing on Channel Five as well.

With Castle done and dusted, most of my TV time has been taken up by the Tour de France lately, and the main reason I bothered getting a Twitter account was to follow the various posts of cyclists after the races. I've really enjoyed the Tour so far this year, though it was sad to see Bradley Wiggins drop out, meaning that the main British interest for honours now lies pretty much solely on Mark Cavendish, though he seems to be doing the job pretty well. If he can get through the next two stages then the green jersey is all but his in Paris.

Probably the most bizarre moment of the Tour so far was the incident involving a TV car crashing into the lead group of riders on Stage 9, entirely wiping out Juan Antonio Flecha and sending Johnny Hoogerland careening into a barbed wire fence. It's pretty impressive that Hoogerland managed to get back up and has kept himself in the Tour given the injuries he got from that. It's mental enough to ride the distances these guys do, at the speeds they do, pretty much every day for three weeks. It's even more crazy to do it when your legs look like this:

As well as the various twitter feeds, I've also been following Jens Voigt's blog, because it makes for fairly quick but interesting reading (especially if you read it in his voice). Jens Voigt is one of those sportsmen who might not be the greatest in terms of the number of wins and outright achievements in the sport, generally working as a team-mate for someone else, but still is massively well-loved and has a huge fan following because they're such a fantastic personality in the interviews outside the racing. Rubens Barrichello would probably be another example. Jens Voigt is a beast of a rider, but gives some fantastic interviews, including a great one for ITV4 this year and a fairly well known one from 2008. I hope he keeps riding for several more years yet.

The general classification is still completely wide open, though it looks now like Voekler is probably not going to keep it until the end of the race. To be fair, he was always pretty critical about his chances of keeping the yellow jersey, even when he looked like he might actually manage it, but he lost a bit of time today, and I can't see him maintaining the gap for the next two stages or the TT. Personally I'd like Cadel Evans to take it (even if he does have an arse for a chin), and I think he's got a pretty good chance. It'd be nice to see a British flag represented on the top step of the podium in Paris, even if it is in the confines of an Australian one.

On Tuesday I'll be kicking off my own (non-cyling) tour of Europe, for which most of the stuff has finally come through. I've still got to go out and buy some stuff (mostly currencies), but at the very least all the travel crap is now arranged and sorted out.

1 comment:

  1. I made myself a "Shut up legs" t-shirt...