Monday, December 03, 2012

Bits and Bytes

• J.K. Rowling’s recent novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, has received some negative reviews in the press as well as from fans of her best-selling Harry Potter fantasy series. Yet Britain’s BBC One and BBC Drama have reached a deal to create a TV series based on that book about a small English town rife with hidden class and inter-generational struggles. Rowling, who will reportedly be involved in the book’s adaptation, is quoted in The Hollywood Reporter as saying, “I always felt that, if [The Casual Vacancy] were to be adapted, this novel was best suited to television, and I think the BBC is the perfect home.” Plans are to debut the series in 2014.

• Does this 1945 novel by Richard Foster really feature “mysterydom’s only Tibetan-American private detective”?

• A few days ago, I featured in The Rap Sheet a Christmas episode of Man Against Crime, the 1949-1956 TV private-eye series. Today, the blog Classic American Showbiz leads us to a special 1974 Christmas episode of the police drama Adam-12.

• British-born Canadian author Peter Robinson reports on his Web site that DCI Banks, the UK TV production based on his long-running series of Inspector Alan Banks books, and starring Stephen Tompkinson, “is coming to PBS all across the United States.” Although I don’t yet see any notice of this development on PBS’s Web site, Robinson says the series will debut on this side of the Atlantic sometime in January. I’m very familiar with Robinson’s series (after interviewing the author for January Magazine more than decade ago) and have read a number of favorable notices about DCI Banks in Robin Jarossi’s Crime Time Preview blog. So this is a show I’d be very happy to add to my otherwise quite limited TV-watching schedule. To see a preview of DCI Banks’ pilot, based on Robinson’s 2001 novel, Aftermath, I refer you back to the author’s Web site. UPDATE: The Crimespree Magazine blog now reports that DCI Banks will debut on PBS “in the 2nd week of January.”

• Prolific novelist James Reasoner is the subject of a new interview in the online pub Lowestoft Chronicle. To read it, click here. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh writer Kathleen George is interviewed by Jeff Rutherford as part of his Reading & Writing podcast. Listen here.

• After many delays, the complete series DVD set of McMillan & Wife (1971-1977)--starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James as a crime-solving police commissioner and his trouble-attracting spouse--is finally set for release tomorrow. It contains 24 discs and boasts a retail price of $169.99.

• Really? The TV series The Killing may return to AMC? What about rumors that this show would wind up instead on Netflix?

• Blogger Jen Forbus offers her nominations for “crime fiction’s sexiest female authors of 2012.” I can only assume that a compilation of male writers will soon be forthcoming.

R.I.P., Charles E. Fritch, at one time the assistant editor of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine. He passed away in October. UPDATE: William F. Nolan has penned a fine memorial to Fritch here.

• And here’s an unusual YouTube find: The 1972 teleflick The Hound of the Baskervilles. Adapted of course from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1902 novel of that same name, this small-screen version of the tale featured English film actor Stewart Granger as Sherlock Holmes and Bernard Fox as Doctor John H. Watson. As I’ve explained before on this page, the movie (which also featured William Shatner) was a failed pilot for an ABC-TV series. I have watched this Hound twice, as I recall, but have not seen it in many years. If you would like a gander at it yourself, simply click here. I notice that the superior 1988 TV version of Hound, produced as part of Jeremy Brett’s wonderful Sherlock Holmes series, can also be viewed on YouTube. As can the 1939 theatrical rendition starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Hound of the Baskervilles fans (like me) could devote much of a day just to comparing these adaptations. Time well spent, I think.


RJR said...

Sexiest female authors? Huh?


Unknown said...

According to the website for Long Island based PBS station CHANNEL 21, DCI Banks will start on Tuesday January 8 at 8:50 pm with repeats during the week. This station has shown Vera and Inspector Gently this past year. 21 is available in NYC.
Folks should check their local PBS stations.

Joe Guglielmelli said...

Folks should check the schedules of their local PBS stations. According to its website Long Island based PBS Channel 21 will begin showing DCI Banks on Tuesday January 8 at 8:50 pm with repeats throughout the week.
Channel 21 has been showing Vera and Inspector Gently this year and is available in NYC.

Mike Doran said...

About that Hound Of The Baskervilles pilot ...

Did anyone notice that there's no credit for the musical score?

This might be due to the fact that the movie's music is cribbed from William Castle's 1964 chiller The Night Walker.

I'm wondering if Universal or ABC or anybody made some sort of settlement with Vic Mizzy, who composed Night Walker's score, or for that matter with Bill Castle.

Or it could be that Universal contrived to own Night Walker outright, hanging on to all rights to the material, music included.

Gues we'll never know, huh?