The one hundred and seventy-fourth TV show: #334 The A-Team

I remember really enjoying The A-Team as a kid. The formula is fair enough, the action is good and there's some funny, light dialogue. It doesn't vary its formula much, but you can see how it would appeal on a base level.

On the other hand, with my modern eyes, the show has lost some shine. It's shallow, with some questionable eighties sides and plots that leave a lot of unnecessary dead air. The focus of its violence is such that it can't commit to what it wants and to a modern eye, it feels carried by Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict as actors that bring some more nuance to what they do, while the guest actors surrounding the show don't necessarily give much - assuming they don't fully give into the stereotypes.

So it's not necessarily a bad show, but it has its issues where the stunts are a focus that don't appeal to me, and at this point, unless you were invested as a kid, there's a lot less to find in here now.

The one hundred and seventy-third TV show: #869 Mrs. Brown's Boys

There are some comedies on the list that I'm not looking forward to. They're outdated, not funny and rely on a type of crudeness that I don't find amusing - not pairing it with anything smarter. Most of these are at least several decades old, but here it's such a deliberate throwback that I found the previous bits of episodes of Mrs. Brown's Boys that I watched quite difficult to watch. Seeing the first episode, before the cheers of recognition from the audience, didn't help, with the loud laughter track coming in on every track, whether they were funny or not. I couldn't stomach a full run of episodes, as I found it boring. There's no dual layer, no subversion, nothing that appeals to me in here, just basic jokes that don't land with me. It's... just nothing.

The one hundred and seventy-second TV show: #757 Forbrydelsen

While I remember watching the first season of the American The Killing, it was quite forgettable after a strong start. The Danish original, on the other hand, managed to maintain that tension through its first twenty episode season, as it peels away the layers and masterfully reveals its different twists in a way that doesn't feel forced. There's a lot that happens, and while the suspicions in the first few episodes don't matter much later on, it feels like a lot of it builds on each other. The political intrigue that gets woven into the story helps just as much with that, by adding this other layers that feels disconnected, but show the wider impact of the murder as it ripples out.

It's a pretty dark and depressing show, the mood of the characters and so on show that. But they keep the case intriguing through most of it and it remains tense until the very end, even if it remains that harrowing. I'm not sure how the later two seasons hold up to that, but its first season is exemplary.

The three hundred and twenty-second album: #322 Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic

Pretzel Logic just carried on - like a good pop rock album, it sounds good, makes you feel good, and takes you through a number of good songs. I guess that compared to the previous album, this is paired down a bit again, but it feels like the band has settled here into a good groove to give us some really good songs.

The three hundred and twenty-first album: #321 Gene Clark - No Other

I don't know if Gene Clark's music is my thing either. Again, we get a heavily country-inspired album, mostly going towards folk rock but incorporating more soul-like elements as well. There are a lot of parts to like about it - there are some lovely quiet tracks, the harmonies build well without being overdone and all the songs have several things to unpack. However, it never quite gells, with tracks dragging on a bit too long for me while I often get to a point where I wish I could just focus on less things. Not overproduced, but a situation where it feels like less is more, and the tracks that follow this closer leave a more positive impression.

The three hundred and twentieth album: #320 George Jones - The Grand Tour

I'm not a fan of classic country, so the big mercy of this album is its brevity, taking less than half an hour to listen to. George Jones doesn't make me feel different here, the maudlin songs just not connecting with me.

The one hundred and thirtieth classical recording: #625 Edward Elgar - Falstaff

Edward Elgar's Falstaff is a richly textured work that combines some big orchestral pieces with smaller phrases that lend it a lot of personality, There's a story and build up in the piece that often comes with operas and other more narrative works is done there through the music and while you need some more familiarity with the work, it still stays accessible as a lovely piece of music.

The three hundred and nineteenth album: #319 Neil Young - On the Beach

It's time for some more good old folk rock, courtesy of Neil Young. It's relaxed and gentle, often more about the message than the music, but overall quite chill and easy to digest. It's been a lovely companion, not one where I think I caught all the intentions, but the sound just felt right, creating a nice headspace to focus in.

The one hundred and seventy-first TV show: #182 The Stone Tape

As it is nearly Halloween, it felt appropriate to watch a spooky story. The BBC production of the 1970s were actually broadcast around Christmas, but to our modern viewing it feels as appropriate to watch these now, especially as the end of December already has so many other viewing traditions.

The story of The Stone Tape involves proper ghosts and images from the past, but the way it approaches them is different. Rather than having any doubt or disbelief, the characters get on board quite quickly and instead take a far more scientific approach to trying to understand the phenomenon and, in this case, to exploit it. Things escalate from there as the phenomenon defies explanation, as the tension builds and keeps moving throughout. It's a good ninety minutes of tension that remains highly effective even now we're nearly fifty years on.

The three hundred and eighteenth album: #318 10CC - Sheet Music

While Sheet Music reaches for the avant garde in some of its tracks, others clearly reach for the pop side of things and end up in what I was starting to call bubblegum rock - simple, accessible, but without much staying power. It's not that I got nothing out of it, but it feels like an album that wants to break away from rock but can't quite do it yet. There's just not enough here to become meaningful.