Asta 2

TV Roundup

With LJ being dead this weekend (what’s up with you people?) and me feeling anti-social, I took this opportunity to finish up watching Profit and Horatio Hornblower. I’d forgotten how brilliant the former was and watching it nine years later I think it may have been a victim of bad timing. (Though they seemed to know they were doomed. The final ep had a bit of resolution and the last word was "Goodnight".) All they would need to do today is play up the corporate corruption angle and it could be a big hit.



As for HH, I watched the first film, ‘The Duel’, rewatched ‘The Duchess and the Devil’ (my personal fav), and finished up with ‘The Wrong War’. So, I got the full Archie angst arc before he got his life back together then died. I have to say that in reading fanfic before seeing all the films, I can see where there was a lot of drawing conclusions and how fanon seems to have become canon. Though. I guess I would have to agree that Archie suffered more than physical abuse at the hands of Simpson. The “Jack’s missed you boy” combined with the leering, the fits triggered by Simpson‘s presence, and Simpson’s resentment of Horatio’s relationship with Archie are a pretty clear indicator of the worst kind of abuse. It seems that Horatio was a potential new victim and, maybe I’m reading into things, but I wonder if Clayton suffered in the same way too.

My overall problem with the Simpson storyline is that he was only one man and not a particularly physically strong one from what I could see. Not to mention, he wasn’t an officer, so why couldn’t a half dozen men stand up to him and end his reign of terror?

Then again, one of my overall problems with these films is that a lot of information isn’t provided and the you have to do a lot of filling in the blanks with the characters. Horatio, in ‘The Duel’, transitioned quickly from being so miserable he’s contemplating death to leading a unit and taking command of a ship. And I just read today that apparently in an A&E interview with Jamie (I’m going to have to see if it’s still up on their site) he mentioned a scene cut from TDatD in which Archie conveys his bitterness towards Horatio for being so fortunate while he has suffered so. I think that would have been extremely interesting to see and would make a lot of sense. In TWW, we see hints of Archie’s lingering feelings of disappointment when he half-heartedly jokes with Lieutenant Hornblower that as acting lieutenant his first command is of a donkey cart. Another tough reminder of how much time he’s lost. My guess is the cut scene could have taken place after Hunter asks Horatio how his walk with the Duchess was and he respond with “Insufferable”. Let’s see, Archie has been presumably raped, left to drift at sea, spent two years in prison, and is near death. Let’s compare who’s having the tough time here.

I have to admit these movies have been difficult for me to watch, not just because of the sea faring stuff which bores me to no end, but seeing poor Archie suffer. It’s not that I haven’t watched characters go through hell before, but they weren’t so innocent. It’s why when people use to go “poor Spike”, I couldn’t get too choked up because, hello?, mass murderer. And even characters like John Crichton and Fox Mulder could act like an ass or screw up big time which could mitigate my sympathy. But Archie was just such a sweet, good-hearted, exuberant soul and Jamie Bamber just hit every note right. It just hurts to watch sometimes.

‘The Wrong War’ was probably my least favorite of the films. I only half paid attention to it. I’m not sure if it was all the military campaigning or the gag inducing love story. I usually like the schmoopy stuff but it just seemed out of place and artificial here. And it didn’t help that I kept thinking he should be kissing Archie. ;p (Btw, the shot of the two of them running away from the exploding bridge? Best shot of the movie.) Maybe I would have actually felt some of Horatio’s pain at losing Mariotte (sp) if not for their relationship consisting of a few kisses. Or if they had hired a better actress. As it is, I felt that Horatio just saw it as another failure on his part.

Anyone else watch Rome? I wasn’t blown away by it, but it is only the first ep.
  • Current Mood: busy busy
I had typed out this long response and apparently LJ ate it, Grrr. Oh well.

I basically agreed with you on the Hornblower films. After rewatching them after a long time, I felt the fims suffered from the writers decision to not portray Horatio in all his complexity (his inner doubts and feelings of inferiority that drove him to succeed). He would have been more interesting, and his exploits more impressive. Other officers, such as Hunter, were jealous of him, and at his lowest point Archie was resentful (as in Dutchess when he said that Horatio would have gotten the credit for rescuing him). I truly don't think Horatio saw it that way, and in his best moments Archie didn't really feel that way. Archie didn't resent Horatio's ability or sucess, and appreciated Horatio's encouragement. They were the perfect complement to each other.

I felt the Simpson storyline was a weakness in that I can't imagine other officers letting someone bully them so, especially the older ones. Horatio and Archie were just kids, and more likely to be intimidated. Also, Captain Pellew was right - any captain worth his salt would have seen through someone like Simpson and put a stop to his reign of terror. Horatio and Archie flourished under Pellew, it was just a tragic shame that Archie's career was interrupted. I think we can see that he did progress once he was given the opportunity.

As for the romantic angle in The Wrong War, it was a complete dud. The writing was poor, the actress was inept, and I agree that Horatio felt her death as a failure to keep his word to protect her rather than any having any real romantic feelings for her. Horatio and Archie shared deeper and more meaningful looks ;)

As for Rome, we don't have HBO, but from the reviews it sounds like a low-brow I Claudius :)
Maybe my problem with the films and Horatio is that he was too heroic. It always seemed to be him to come through with the brilliant solution and save the day. Even his perceived failures didn't come across as such, more him being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I was confused by the transition from 'The Wrong War' to 'Mutiny'. In the former, Horatio seemed more willing to bend or break the rules (perhaps because he was dealing with the French?), but in 'Mutiny' he keeps reminding everyone else about why they can't act even as all their lives are at stake.

I don't know if I can ever fathom the Simpson storyline. Sure, Archie and Horatio were young and impressionable, but the other men? Having read about Simpson via fanfic before seeing him I expected to see this big, imposing, brute of a man and then I saw the reality of him and it left me scratching my head. It would seem the others could have given him the beating of a life and, coward that he was, his reign of terror would have come to an end.

Btw, since I know you attempted to read the books was there any backstory on Archie? Other than a mention of his father in 'The Duel', I don't recall him talking about his family. Yet, nearly every fanfic I read has him decended from a titled family and having contemplated a life in the theatre. I'm just wondering if they took the quoting of Shakespeare and his knowing who Kitty was in TDatD and ran with it.
Having watched the films recently after a long time, and watching shows with flawed heroes, I also felt that Horatio was a bit too two-dimensional. The books are told from his POV, so it's easy for the reader to understand his insecurities and his perceived flaws. As for the crazy rules of war and chivalry in those days, I shake my head - Cindy was my cynical voice coming from the peanut gallery on that :) It seemes that Horatio's sense of honor was more in regard to his service and fellow officers than to the enemy.

The Simpson storyline was primarily the screenwriters' creation, as was Arhcie's story. Archie had no backstory in the books! His background is all fanfic created. His character briefly appears when they attack the Pappillon and he has a fit. I don't even think he figures in the Simpson story, though it's been a few years since I've read the books. In the book Simpson actually fits your image of him, just a big brutish bully. I think the screenwriters created Archie's story as it went along - I'm trying to rmember when the first films came out, but I think that Archie wasn't supposed to reappear as a prisoner in TDatD, but they liked Jamie's chemistry with Ioan, so they expanded his character to a greater degree.

My copy of TDatD has a few more scenes than the one that was broadcast on TV, including a scene in prison that expands a bit on the fit Archie has in prison. I'd be happy to copy that one for you :)

Oh, when do you leave, don't want to miss wishing you a great time!
My copy of TDatD has a few more scenes than the one that was broadcast on TV, including a scene in prison that expands a bit on the fit Archie has in prison. I'd be happy to copy that one for you :)

Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! ::bounces in seat::

TDatD is actually my favorite of the films and I can imagine myself watching that one repeatedly. I'm wondering if I should just have you do 'Mutiny' and 'Retribution' as well. Not that I'd watch them much, but I'm a completist. ;) Btw, was your tape for 'The Wrong War' kinda wonky? The colors on the disc were sorta of messed up.

And, a second, btw, would you mind watching a show on your computer? I have Doctor Who on disc, but they are avi files and not DVD compatible.

I wish we had learned more about the fits Archie experiences. Since he had at least one in prison, we know that they are not solely triggered by Simpson. My guess is he suffered from a form of epilepsy. I wish the writers had left it at that. They could have played up how stress triggers them and the burden he carries trying to keep them a secret. Because had it been widely known, he would be thrown out of the navy.

I leave Thursday. :)
As a fellow completist, I understand :) Actually TDatD is the favorite of many Hornblower fans, me included, for obvious reasons :) And I thought Cheri Longhi was very good as Miss Cobbam. My Mutiny and Retribution are on DVD, and since I don't have a DVD burner, would it be okay if I sent them to you so you can burn them on your computer? I'd be more than happy to. And positively no rush. I'm so sorry about The Wrong War, the color was kinda wonky, I was hoping it would straigthen out once I taped it. No matter what I did I couldn't fix it 100%.

I'm with you, I wish they hadn't tied Archie's fits to Simpson; it makes more sense that the seizures were brought on by stress.

Oh good, I have time then :)
No worries about TWW, I just thought it could be a bad disc. Besides, it's probably the film I was most bored by (and then there's the gag inducing love story ;p) so I doubt I'll be watching it much if at all.

I thought you had the other films on video and since I haven't figured out how to break the code on protected DVDs yet, don't bother sending those to me. I'll let you know if I can put them to use in the future. I will be most happy with just TDatD. :)

And I'll get copies of the good Doctor to you. Possibly before I leave, if time permits. If not, next week. I think you'll enjoy the show. I had really low expectations having seen some of the past series, but this was cery well done. It's no 'Galactica' though. ;)
Sorry I missed daying good night in chat tonight - I was cursed!

Okay, I will keep the other two for you in reserve :) You know, the tapes I have are official tapes, and I was able to copy them, so you may be able to as well. Are DVDs different?

And thank you for the Doctor :) I think I will enjoy it too. Take your time, I know you will be busy the next couple of days.
Oh, forgot - I have no problem watching on my computer, especially since we have the high-speed internet, what a blessing! :) Would love to see Dr. Who, so I know what you and Anna are talking about :)