Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!
I met my now-wife back in the previous millennium. It took a while for things to work out between the two of us – anywhere between nine and eleven years, depending on how you measure and what you take as the starting point of a relationship that developed over a fairly long time, and that is still developing and growing. But especially during the first few years, there were a few constants. From the first, we went to the cinema with each other a lot. And early on, we would start watching TV series together – and once you start with a TV series with someone else, you can’t just go off and watch it on your own, because that would be simply uncivilised. Over the years we’ve watched so many series together: great ones, good ones, a fair few mediocre ones and even a couple of series that were plain bad. (I’m looking at you, Hunted and Intruders!) From Battlestar Galactica to Veronica Mars, from Ultraviolet to Lost, from House of Cards (the BBC original) to Edge of Darkness (also the BBC original).
But somehow, I would say that our origin story, our relationship as first friends and then more than friends as facilitated by television, really began with a mobster who went to see a psychiatrist.
Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.
Last week it finally happened: A Damn Fine Cup of Culture was deemed too raunchy by Facebook. Okay, that may not be quite accurate – truth be told, we will probably never know why Facebook suddenly decided that we’d violated their T&Cs with the name of our page. Was it the “damn”? Was it that we made claims to the extraordinary quality of our cups of culture? Or was it something else entirely, like the wrong number of capitals? Anyway, we are now back on Facebook, complete with what some people might consider naughty words in our name. Let’s see what Mark Z comes up with next, shall we?
All of this happened on the same day that Sam posted another wonderful instalment of Six Damn Fine Degrees, in honour of two of the Grande Dames of dubbing: Marni Nixon, who featured in many a film musical without getting the credit she deserved, and Nikki van der Zyl, the woman who gave a voice to so many Bond girls. We can hear a (sadly, very small) handful of her lines dubbing Ursula Andress in the trailer for the Bond film that started it all, Dr. No.
Over the last couple of weeks, we watched the 2017 Netflix series Alias Grace. It is a smart, stylish adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, with strong writing by Sarah Polley and direction by Mary Harron (of American Psycho fame), and the acting is impeccable, especially when it comes to Sarah Gadon as the Irish maid Grace Marks who may or may not have helped murder her employer and his housekeeper. The series handles tone and genre well, navigating between historical drama, dry black comedy, true crime, gothic horror and deft commentary on gender, class truth and fiction.
And about halfway through the final episode I thought that Alias Grace isn’t all that different from that film with the robot.