Historical Espionage Series Exploring Canadian History.

There’s lots of TV series featuring spies, but very few with Canadian spies with historical settings.

I’ve reached the third and last season of X Company, a CBC production that is surprisingly good.  The writing is very strong and as far as I can tell, the historical accuracy is excellent.

The betrayals, double-crossing, spies, informants and heart-rending murders are as good as anything out there, too.

Check it out.  It’s on Netflix.  Don’t let the rosy-cheeked show poster fool you.  This is good story-telling.

Today is National Paper Airplane Day

Not that it has anything to do with spies or spy fiction (James Bond aside), but it is kinda cool stuff when you dig into the art of paper planes.

The USA based designs of their WWII bombers on paper models.

The world record for paper airplane flight is two inches under 227 feet.

There’s a video of the Guinness Book of Records flight here.

And if you’re tempted to reach for a sheet of printer paper yourself, The Art of Manliness explains “How to Make the World’s Best Paper Airplanes” here.

PS:  The current world record holder for paper plane flights is offering $1,000 to anyone who can beat his record, using paper planes built to his instructions, which you can find here.

Why is Bond #25 Taking So Long?

I’ve heard this question a few times, lately.

It’s an understandable concern for James Bond fans.

  • Daniel Craig has been off-and-then-on,
  • The director’s chair is the centre of a fast game of musical chairs,
  • Fans are royally pissed that Thomas Newman hasn’t been tapped again to compose the score.
  • Distribution was up in the air for months.
  • Funding has been on and off, too.

Given the speed and enthusiasm with which Marvel pumps out their mega-runaway-franchise, and that fans have no problem with at least one superhero movie a year, I do actually have to scratch my head over why anyone would waffle over the production of another James Bond film, especially since Daniel Craig has refreshed the franchise and given it new legs.

However, the movie has been slated for release in 2019, putting four years between the currently unnamed #25, and the previous movie, Spectre, in 2015.

That seems like a long time, but it’s actually not.  Consider:

Movie Year Period since last movie
Dr. No 1962 n/a
From Russia with Love 1963 1
Goldfinger 1964 1
Thunderball 1965 1
You Only Live Twice 1967 2
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1969 2
Diamonds Are Forever 1971 2
Live and Let Die 1973 2
The Man with the Golden Gun 1974 1
The Spy Who Loved Me 1977 3
Moonraker 1979 2
For Your Eyes Only 1981 2
Octopussy 1983 2
A View to a Kill 1985 2
The Living Daylights 1987 2
Licence to Kill 1989 2
GoldenEye 1995 6
Tomorrow Never Dies 1997 2
The World Is Not Enough 1999 2
Die Another Day 2002 3
Casino Royale 2006 4
Quantum of Solace 2008 2
Skyfall 2012 4
Spectre 2015 3
Bond 25 2019 4

Looked at this way, you can see that since 1990, a four year pause between Bond movies isn’t even unusual.

By the way, the average length of time between all twenty-five movies is 2.37 years, but every-second-year-without-fail pace of the ’80s is dropping that down.

Which ever way you look at it, 2019 for the anticipated 25th movie isn’t out of the ordinary all.

Alas.

Gaza

I know I can’t be the only one.

Do you find it disturbing–does it make you uneasy and push you a dozen steps closer to joining the ranks of the Preppers–when you consider how fast everything escalated in the Middle East?

As I’m just a passenger in this worldly vehicle, I’m hoping to hell someone who does know where the brake pedal is will choose the sane option and stamp on the damn thing.

Weird and absolutely true coincidence:  As I’m writing this post, Sting’s “Russians” track from The Dream of the Blue Turtles is playing.

Bosch — A Great Example of a Solid Police Thriller

Amazon has released Bosch from the confines of their Prime program, out into the streaming/download wilderness.  I’m currently working my way through the four seasons already available.

Michael Connelly is the author of the Harry Bosch series of books the TV show is based upon.  It’s hardly a surprise that he’s executive producer of the show, too.  He also co-wrote the launch episode.

Because he has some input into the series, it is a faithful adaptation of the novels, and I started watching with my confidence high that I wouldn’t be let down.

I especially like the homage toward the books themselves–in the TV series, Bosch is living comfortably thanks to royalties from a movie made of “one of his cases”, and the movie poster on the wall that he nods to is the very first Harry Bosch novel by Connelly, The Black Echo.

Titus Welliver seems to be the ideal casting choice for Bosch.  He has perfected the self-contained loner attitude of hard-boiled heroes everywhere.

Bosch is a well-crafted police procedural.  It meets the genre expectations at every point, and delivers entertaining stories.  If you like the genre, give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Rethinking Concepts

It’s been a while since I posted, but I suspect there are very few people that noticed.  I’m okay with talking in an echo chamber for right now.  I’m still figuring stuff out.

Including, it seems, the concept for the new novels.  I’m staring at starting from scratch again.

I need to make a decision and that’s where the problem lies.

I enjoy spy novels.  My favourite authors are mostly spy thriller writers (le Carré, Bagley–sometimes, among others).

On the other hand, I really like damn good caper stories, which have faded away from the scene a lot these days.   I’m thinking of Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise series of novels in particular, which were all enormous fun to read.  There’s never really been anyone else like him–or Modesty.

I also like a really good hard boiled detective story, and there’s never enough of those around.

I also grew up reading Alistair MacLean.

I’m strongly leaning toward the international spy thriller novel, but the scope is daunting.  Maybe that’s a good thing.

I think I’m suffering from shiny object syndrome.

Time to retest my concept…

Cold War Feel, Modern Day Treatment

I recently started watching Counterpart, the new Starz TV series, which was haphazard of me, as I generally prefer to wait until a season is over before starting to watch it.

I was thoroughly engrossed by the end of the first episode, despite the science-fiction-y concept of the show, because the alternative worlds premise is really a great substitute for Berlin during the Cold War.

The antics each side goes through, spying on each other, brings Berlin sharply to mind, too.

So does does the art and design of the series.  Clothe are subdued, sets are dark, and there are interesting touches, like throw-back computer monitors and clunky reel-to-reel mag tapes.

The homage is deliberate:  part of the series is filmed in Berlin.

If you like Le Carré, you’ll likely enjoy Counterpart.