Copenhagen on DVD in UK (at last)

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Copenhagen is a 2002 TV drama that to the best of my knowledge has not had a DVD release in the UK until now. I’ve just found out there was a recent release on 29 February 2016 so I’ll be tracking down a copy very shortly.

So what’s it about?

It’s probably most notable now For staring a pre-Bond Daniel Craig in one of the three central rolls. He plays German atomic scientist Werner Heisenberg and the play revolves around his wartime meeting with Niels Bohr – played by Stephen Rea – in Copenghagen. Francesca Annis rounds out the cast as Bohr’s wife.

So basically you have three actors talking to each other in one location for 90 minutes.

But it’s gripping stuff. It delves into the motivations of Heisenberg as to why he wanted to meet Bohr during the war. And it neatly uses the concepts of nuclear physics as a metaphor as to the uncertainty of what was actually discussed.

I’ve seen this a few times but never actually owned a copy to watch so I’m very glad to see this released.

Childhood’s End Episode 1 review

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When I found out recently that there had been a tv miniseries based on Childhood’s End by Arthur C Clarke my interest was aroused. I need to declare and interest at this point. It was reading 2010 Odyssey Two three decades ago which got me hooked on reading in general and a fan of Clarke’s fiction. In the decades since adaptations of his work seem to have been few and far between. Whatever happened the long promised movie of Rendezvous With Rama for example?

So a three-part version of Childhood’s End? I’m sold.

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Although to be honest it was never one of my favourites of Clarke’s, and my memories of the book are vague. But still…

So I watched episode on catchup the days after the Sky 1 broadcast. And so far I like what they’ve done.

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Yes, some of the detail has changed. The main character Stormgren was the UN Secetary General in the book. Now he’s a farmer picked by the alien Supprvisor Karellan as the point of contact between the Overlords and the people of Earth.

But other things have been kept. The meetings between Stormgren and Karellen take place in a room with one-way glass. And the Freedom League is still there voicing opposition to mankind no longer having control of their own destiny. And of course we don’t get to see what the aliens look like until the end of the first part and then we discover why they were wise to hide their appearance.

Stormgren is played by Mike Vogel who I know best from playing that nice Barbie in Under the Dome to show. He also played a not so nice corrupt cop in season one of Bates Motel.

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As an aside I like the hotel room that Stormgren meets Karellen in. I’m sure that’s a nod to the climax of 2001 A Space Odyssey and the room that Dave Bowman finds himself occupying.

Also mention must be made of Charles Dance who voices the unseen Karellen perfectly.

I’m sure there will be viewers complaining about the “big alien spaceships hovering over all the world’s capitals” as seen in V and Independence Day. But remember that Clarke’s novel predates both of those by many decades.

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One very effective addition to the story that was not in the book was the way that Karellen first talks to the people of earth. Images of the dead appear and talk to their family members, all reciting the same words. Very creepy.

I will certainly be watching the next two parts.

And in the meantime as an added bonus it’s got me to dig out my old paperback of the novel and I’ve started reading it again.

The 100 Season 3 episodes 1 to 5 review

Last year I somehow managed to write a review of each episode of The 100 Season 2 each week after the broadcast. Alas this year I’ve not managed to do the same for season 3. I believe we are up to episode 5 or thereabouts in the UK. So consider this a catchup review of the episodes so far.

Season 2 ended with Clarke being forced to kill everyone in Mount Weather after being betrayed by Lexa and the Grounders. She then left the rest of her people and walked off into the wilderness.

Meanwhile the former Chancellor Jaha was looking for the mythical City of Light and eventually found a preserved mansion and a holographic lady who had a nuclear bomb. At the time I remember expressing some disquiet that they were going for a more overtly sci-fi storyline rather than sticking with the “what if” aspect of the story.

Season 3 starts a few months on. The people from the Ark have consolidated their landing site and have now named the burgeoning town Arkadia. They have negotiated a truce with the Grounders; hostilities will be avoided if everyone keeps to their territory.

Early in the season our Ark people find another set of Ark survivors from the farm station that landed some distance away from the main crash site. They are led by a man called Pike who is fairly bitter that many of his people were killed by Grounders. He and his companions are pretty much of the mind that the only good Grounder is a dead one.

Part of the truce with the Grounders is that Mount Weather is off-limits, understandably so since many Grounders were taken there to have their blood extracted by the Mountain Men. But the temptation is there to use the resources and eventually Abby agrees to send a group there including Raven and Bellamy’s girlfriend.

Meanwhile Clarke is hunting and trading with the Grounders and pretty much keeping to herself. It transpires that various factions of Grounders are hunting for her as it is believed that she has great power that could be possessed by the Grounder leaders. She is eventually caught and taken to Lexa who explains that the Ice Nation, one of the twelve clans, is growing more aggressive.

Lexa proposes to make the Sky Crew one of the clans in her alliance. Kane and Abby agree and Kane takes the Grounder brand on his arm to seal the deal. In return Lexa sends a force of Grounders to Arkadia to help defend it from the Ice Nation

However the Ice Nation throw a spanner in the works. They seem to have a survivor from the Mountain Men who tells them about the self destruct mechanism. An infiltrator sets it off killing everyone inside the mountain including Bellamy’s girlfriend. Raven is one of the only two survivors.

Back at her city Lexa is challenged for the leadership of the Grounders. Rather than choose a champion she decides to fight. She faces the son of the Ice Queen in an arena and it’s pretty tense stuff. I was convinced she was toast actually. But she gets the upper hand and wins the fight. And rather than kill her opponent she throws a spear at the ice queen – who is watching the fight – and kills her. Thus her opponent, the prince, becomes the King of the Ice Nation and she gains an ally.

Back at Arkadia in the aftermath of the destruction of Mount Weather Pike has become more restless and militant. He convinces the other Ark people that the Grounder force nearby is a threat and becomes elected Chancellor. He immediately leads a force to kill the Grounders. Bellamy is happy to go along, no doubt influenced by the death of his girlfriend.

Pike also orders the Grounders inside the town walls to be interned. This includes Lincoln and some other Grounders that Abby was giving medical treatment to.

Lexa and Clarke come across the field of bodies when journeying to the Ark. Indra is the only survivor. Apparently Bellamy convinced Pike to let her live to bring a message to the Grounders. Kane sends Octavia outside Arkadia in secret to make contact with Lexa. She brings Clarke back with her to try to convince Bellamy that killing the Grounders is wrong. But he doesn’t listen and Clarke and Octavia have to escape the town.

It’s at this point that the former chancellor Jaha finally returns to the town with his message about the City of Light. He’s looking for followers that he can convince to join him. It appears that there is some sort of virtual reality afterlife available through the technology that the holographic lady has. I think we’re going to find out more about that soon.

One follower he appears to gain looks to be Raven who is dealing with the pain and the loss of mobility caused by her injured leg.

So after a quiet-ish start the season has quickly thrown up some complicated situations for our characters to deal with.