Wednesday, 09 February 2011 10:46
altThe mystery genre is loaded with thousands of gripping novels, poignant characters and solid plots.

Yet when it comes to TV and movies, very few of those wonderful novels make it to the big or little screen intact. The exceptions are so good that they become timeless classics -- Mystic River, L.A. Confidential, The Grifters, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown and a few others.

Add to that list Justified, which makes its return Feb. 9 on FX. It will air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Justified's first season is available on DVD.

Justified is based on a Leonard short story about U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, an old-fashioned Kentucky lawman who is a deeply flawed good man. He knows what he is. A relentless lawman, quick on the draw and usually justified in his shooting.
On the personal side, Givens' is incapable of being faithful but he's so darned charming few women can stay mad at him. However, those charms don't work on criminals and he has more than his share of enemies, which will heat up even more during this season.
What makes Justified work -- and I am so looking forward to this second season -- is that the screenwriters cull Leonard's pitch perfect dialogue. Leonard has always been able to say so much with so few words. He makes the dialogue look simple, but it's loaded with depth.

But Leonard has never skimped on action. Justified's second season begins about two hours after the first season ended so expect plenty of fire power.

Leonard currently is working on a full-length novel about U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens.
Photo: Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in Justified. FX photo
Get Justified -- Again
Oline Cogdill
get-justified-again
altThe mystery genre is loaded with thousands of gripping novels, poignant characters and solid plots.

Yet when it comes to TV and movies, very few of those wonderful novels make it to the big or little screen intact. The exceptions are so good that they become timeless classics -- Mystic River, L.A. Confidential, The Grifters, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown and a few others.

Add to that list Justified, which makes its return Feb. 9 on FX. It will air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Justified's first season is available on DVD.

Justified is based on a Leonard short story about U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, an old-fashioned Kentucky lawman who is a deeply flawed good man. He knows what he is. A relentless lawman, quick on the draw and usually justified in his shooting.
On the personal side, Givens' is incapable of being faithful but he's so darned charming few women can stay mad at him. However, those charms don't work on criminals and he has more than his share of enemies, which will heat up even more during this season.
What makes Justified work -- and I am so looking forward to this second season -- is that the screenwriters cull Leonard's pitch perfect dialogue. Leonard has always been able to say so much with so few words. He makes the dialogue look simple, but it's loaded with depth.

But Leonard has never skimped on action. Justified's second season begins about two hours after the first season ended so expect plenty of fire power.

Leonard currently is working on a full-length novel about U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens.
Photo: Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in Justified. FX photo
Sunday, 06 February 2011 10:12
alt"Dying is easy, comedy is hard."

That quote has been around for decades, maybe even centuries. Yet no one seems to agree on who actually said it.
Aside from being a line said by Peter O’Toole in the movie My Favorite Year, that line also has been attributed to Edmund Kean, Edmund Gwenn, and Donald Crisp. It could also be one of those phrases that no one said but has become part of our lexicon.

What is true, though, is comedy is hard.

Finding the mesh of humor to appeal to a wide range of people isn't easy. Each of us has a different sensibility. What's funny to me, may not be funny to you. And visa versa.

Comedy is even harder in mysteries.

I've been thinking a lot about humor in mysteries after just finishing Tim Dorsey's recent novel, Electric Barracuda. Dorsey is the Three Stooges of the mystery world, mixing slapstick, politically incorrect humor and wild escapades into what could be called a novel. The plots are outlandish and the characters unbelievable.
Yet for me, they work.

Still, Dorsey's humor isn't for everyone and that's all right.

The mystery genre is blessed with a number of very funny mystery writers. What makes these novels work is the fact that the authors take care to keep the seriousness of the murder serious but find the humor in the absurd behavior of people.

I like different kinds of humor.
Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series never fails to make me laugh. Yeah, the plots are the same and Stephanie is still the same person she was when Evanovich began that series with One for the Money. The latest is Sizzling Sixteen and I hope Evanvich can keep that series going for another 16 novels.

Donna Andrews, Elaine Viets and Nancy Martin write funny. Paul Levine also writes funny with his Solomon vs Lord series. And let's also add in Toni Kelner and Steven Forman. Harlan Coben has that perfect mix of humor and seriousness with his Myron Bolitar series.

I know I am forgetting some very funny writers. Who are your favorites?
Laughing With Tim Dorsey, Others
Oline Cogdill
laughing-with-tim-dorsey-others
alt"Dying is easy, comedy is hard."

That quote has been around for decades, maybe even centuries. Yet no one seems to agree on who actually said it.
Aside from being a line said by Peter O’Toole in the movie My Favorite Year, that line also has been attributed to Edmund Kean, Edmund Gwenn, and Donald Crisp. It could also be one of those phrases that no one said but has become part of our lexicon.

What is true, though, is comedy is hard.

Finding the mesh of humor to appeal to a wide range of people isn't easy. Each of us has a different sensibility. What's funny to me, may not be funny to you. And visa versa.

Comedy is even harder in mysteries.

I've been thinking a lot about humor in mysteries after just finishing Tim Dorsey's recent novel, Electric Barracuda. Dorsey is the Three Stooges of the mystery world, mixing slapstick, politically incorrect humor and wild escapades into what could be called a novel. The plots are outlandish and the characters unbelievable.
Yet for me, they work.

Still, Dorsey's humor isn't for everyone and that's all right.

The mystery genre is blessed with a number of very funny mystery writers. What makes these novels work is the fact that the authors take care to keep the seriousness of the murder serious but find the humor in the absurd behavior of people.

I like different kinds of humor.
Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series never fails to make me laugh. Yeah, the plots are the same and Stephanie is still the same person she was when Evanovich began that series with One for the Money. The latest is Sizzling Sixteen and I hope Evanvich can keep that series going for another 16 novels.

Donna Andrews, Elaine Viets and Nancy Martin write funny. Paul Levine also writes funny with his Solomon vs Lord series. And let's also add in Toni Kelner and Steven Forman. Harlan Coben has that perfect mix of humor and seriousness with his Myron Bolitar series.

I know I am forgetting some very funny writers. Who are your favorites?
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 10:33
If you are like most people who are house bound because of the cold weather or tired of shoveling snow, then you are proaltbably dreaming of warmer weather.

Well, we know that isn't going to happen for a least a month or so.
And pay no attention to the fact that I live in Florida -- the only state that has not had snow this winter. Not that we are bragging or anything.

So here's something to warm you up -- the Hawaii Five-0 series, which airs 9 p.m. CST, 10 p.m. EST Mondays on CBS.

Just watching those warm waters, lovely beaches and sunshine will make you put on your swim suit now...of course, that would look a little silly with your hat, gloves, scarf and coat.

And because we all do need a bit of silliness sometimes, here's a comment and a song about Hawaii Five-0.
Hal Glatzer, author of Too Dead to Swing: It's good to have Hawaii 5-0 back again. The plots are still outlandish - real local crime is rather mundane - but the leading characters now are younger and more likely to crack wise; and as TV cop shows go, they have more "realistic" backstories. The producers kept Morton Stevens’ hard-driving theme music; so I did little Internet research and discovered that there are lyrics to it.
All together now . . . .
If you're feelin' lonely / You can come with me.
Feel my arms around you / Lay beside the sea.
We will think of somethin' to do.
Do it till it's perfect for you / And for me too.
You can come with me.
Who knew there were lyrics to that song! Thanks, Hal.
Photo: Scott Caan as Danny "Danno" Williams and Alex O'Loughlin as Steve McGarrett in Hawaii Five-0. CBS photo
Hawaii Five-0 Sing Along
Oline Cogdill
hawaii-five-0-sing-along
If you are like most people who are house bound because of the cold weather or tired of shoveling snow, then you are proaltbably dreaming of warmer weather.

Well, we know that isn't going to happen for a least a month or so.
And pay no attention to the fact that I live in Florida -- the only state that has not had snow this winter. Not that we are bragging or anything.

So here's something to warm you up -- the Hawaii Five-0 series, which airs 9 p.m. CST, 10 p.m. EST Mondays on CBS.

Just watching those warm waters, lovely beaches and sunshine will make you put on your swim suit now...of course, that would look a little silly with your hat, gloves, scarf and coat.

And because we all do need a bit of silliness sometimes, here's a comment and a song about Hawaii Five-0.
Hal Glatzer, author of Too Dead to Swing: It's good to have Hawaii 5-0 back again. The plots are still outlandish - real local crime is rather mundane - but the leading characters now are younger and more likely to crack wise; and as TV cop shows go, they have more "realistic" backstories. The producers kept Morton Stevens’ hard-driving theme music; so I did little Internet research and discovered that there are lyrics to it.
All together now . . . .
If you're feelin' lonely / You can come with me.
Feel my arms around you / Lay beside the sea.
We will think of somethin' to do.
Do it till it's perfect for you / And for me too.
You can come with me.
Who knew there were lyrics to that song! Thanks, Hal.
Photo: Scott Caan as Danny "Danno" Williams and Alex O'Loughlin as Steve McGarrett in Hawaii Five-0. CBS photo