So what did you do this summer?

Summer is over and we have the million dollar question: what did you do this summer? Time to reflect and ponder; summer tv and summer reading had their moments. Here’s what I have to say:

As much as reality television is fun for some people, I’m so glad for the return of traditional form of television viewing – that is, stuff derived from written scripts, and actors acting, and so forth, rather than the construction of producers and contestants who seek their 15 minutes of fame (one can’t really call it “reality” if it’s that constructed). I can see why some people look to cable to escape the networks’ offerings, since who needs to see what the networks’ call “reality”

P.S. – this fall, CBS’ “Survivor” is back and is as chaotic as ever. The contestants seem to be backstabbing earlier than ever. Hmm. Well, it seems reality tv is easier to digest when there’s a return to non-reality offerings available.

Notable summer stuff: A&E’s “MI-5” has been topsy-turvy viewing – a show about the workings of the British counter-espionage agency (the guys who spy within the country against the country’s enemies). It has already been broadcasted in Britain. Considering that the Brits have a shorter run of a television “season,” there is less of an expectation to keep cast members around – so, the grizzly violence of “MI-5” leaves one guessing as to who gets to be the victim of the week. There’s more reality to “MI-5” than in any Bond flick (when you have references to terrorism and political references and issues, well, what would you expect? Bond never pretended to be about reality). “MI-5” was/is gripping television. Plus, interesting guest stars – such as Anthony Head, the guy who played Giles from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and was once the Taster’s Choice commercial guy; and even Hugh Laurie, the guy who played Stuart Little’s dad in “Stuart Little” and played Bertie Wooster in PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre’s broadcasts of the “Jeeves and Wooster” series based on P.G. Wodehouse’s books.

What I read during the summer in the subway:

“London’s Perfect Scoundrel,” by Suzanne Enoch. Published in 2003. Yes, it’s a cheesy, paperback romance novel, but I enjoyed it. I’d recommend it as a good read for the subway commute. Sexy, sensual, and fun – yes, indeed. It takes place during Regency England, turn of the 18th century, when the Prince of the Wales is covering for his dad, Mad King George III. The Marquis of St. Aubyn, Michael Halboro, is a serious scoundrel – he’s a swinging bachelor, enjoying the pleasures of married women, facing threats from cuckolded husbands, making sure he has no illegitimate children, and gambling. Evelyn Ruddick is a young, respectable lady, recruited to help her annoying brother earn a seat in Parliament. She wants to get her own life, and decides to volunteer to reform a London orphanage. It turns out that St. Aubyn is the head of the board of governors of the orphanage and aims to seduce Evelyn. Evelyn aims to help the orphans. The story can be a little unbelievable, but St. Aubyn the anti-hero does get nicely redeemed. Even Evelyn isn’t nearly as dim as she initially appears, taking great lengths to redeem St. Aubyn, to help the orphans and maybe to love the guy. His bad conduct does rub off on her, but that’s to her benefit, really – she gets to be less self-righteous and a lot more vivacious. Meanwhile, St. Aubyn learns to recognize the feeling in his chest is his heart – yeah, he has one. It’s a good read.

“Funeral in Blue,” by Anne Perry. Published in 2001 (hardcover). Victorian mystery, 1860’s London. Monk, private investigator, must figure out why Elissa Beck died, or else her husband, Kristian Beck, will be found guilty. But, who really is Elissa, who had seemed to be a proper English lady bitter by life with Kristian, and why would anyone kill her? And, there’s more to Kristian than Monk thought; Kristian isn’t just a nice, dedicated immigrant Bohemian doctor who came to England for a better life and reform medical services. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the characters, even though the solution still had me puzzled and seemed a little weak.

Until later; stay tuned for more…

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