Sunday, 2 January 2000

Troy: Fall of a City

BBC drama series Troy: Fall of a City does what it says on the tin, and tells the story of the Fall of Troy - the whole thing, from the Judgment of Paris to the fall part - in eight episodes. The series includes some really interesting elements, particularly in its use of the gods, but watching the whole thing back to back will not exactly be a cheerful experience - the ending is actually slightly more depressing than the original myths are.

I reviewed the series for Den of Geek, so the links below will take you to my reviews on that site.

Spoiler-free preview

1. Black Blood
2. Conditions
3. Siege
4. Spoils of War
5. Hunted
6. Battle on the Beach
7. Twelve Days
8. Offering

Saturday, 1 January 2000


Atlantis is the story of Jason, a man brought up in our world but born in another, as he tries to find out what happened to his parents in the not-quite-so-lost-as-previously-imagined city of Atlantis. Helping him are his friends Pythagoras (yes, that Pythagoras) and Hercules, though this Hercules may not be quite as you imagined him...

Season One
1.01 The Earth Bull
1.02 A Girl by Any Other Name
1.03 A Boy of No Consequence
1.04 Twist of Fate
1.05 White Lies
1.06 The Song of the Sirens
1.07 The Rules of Engagement
1.08 The Furies
1.09 Pandora's Box
1.10 The Price of Hope
1.11 Hunger Pangs
1.12 Touched by the Gods, Part One
1.13 Touched by the Gods, Part Two

I've also written on Atlantis for Den of Geek:

The myths behind Atlantis
Interview with Jack Donnelly (Jason)
Interview with Robert Emms (Pythagoras)
Interview with Aiysha Hart (Ariadne)
Interview with Jemima Rooper (Medusa)
10 things we learned visiting the Atlantis set


Sir Terry Pratchett's fabulous, rich series of comic fantasies, the Discworld is world and mirror of worlds. As such, it frequently mirrors the Classical world, and I get to blog about it! The Discworld books got me back on to proper stories after years of Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters' Club in my early teens, and I am forever grateful to Pratchett for that, and to my Dad's recommendation and my old school's Library Class that between them led to me finding the Discworld in the first place.

The Last Hero
Unseen Academicals

General Tacticus

Roma Sub Rosa (the Gordianus series)

Steven Saylor's detective series set in Rome started out with one lovely distinguishing feature; the mysteries fictional 'detective' Gordianus investigated were real criminal cases, usually taken from Cicero's speeches. Saylor would offer an alternative solution to that presented by history, Gordianus delving into the secrets imagined to lie beneath the case. As the series has gone on, Saylor has invented more and more of the central mysteries himself, but the focus on historical events, now largely political and military events, remains.

2. The House of the Vestals
5. Catilina's Riddle
8. Rubicon
9. Last Seen in Massilia

True Blood

Just when you thought TV couldn't get any gorier or include any more ridiculous sex scenes than those in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, along comes True Blood to prove you wrong. Based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels, also known as the Southern Vampire Mysteries, by Charlaine Harris, both books and TV series include occasional bits of ancient culture thrown in amongst the evocatively drawn modern Southern setting.

It took me quite a while to get into this series, as my posts on the TV series demonstrate, but Season 3 got me utterly hooked and after that I raced through the books as if they were chocolate cake. They're silly, sexy, gory fun, and as the cherry on the cake, every now and then we get to meet a Roman vampire.

2. Living Dead in Dallas
7. All Together Dead
10. Dead in the Family

TV series
Season 2, Part 1
Season 2, Part 2
3.03. Whatever I Am, You Made Me
Digging for the Dirt (Post Mortem)

The West Wing

The West Wing is a quite ridiculously brilliant drama from Aaron Sorkin. Sure, it was idealistic, sometimes corny, always a bit too sure of itself and there was a definite dip in quality after Sorkin's departure at the end of Season 4, but overall it remains one of the best television dramas ever made.

1.02 Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

1.03 A Proportional Response
1.10 In Excelsis Deo
1.12 He Shall, From Time to Time
2.17 The Stackhouse Filibuster
2.22 Two Cathedrals

Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel

It was years before I agreed to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because the title just sounded so ridiculous. More fool me, since the title is, of course, a knowing joke and the series is one of the funniest, slickest, most touching genre shows of the last couple of decades. Just about every telefantasy show and a good proporation of science fiction shows since owe something to Buffy, the newly invigorated Doctor Who among them.

2.6 Halloween
2.16 Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
4.8 Pangs
4.22 Restless
5.15 I Was Made to Love You
6.07 Once More, With Feeling
7.04 Help
7.16 Storyteller

Angel: The Series's Oracles
Oedipal Themes in Angel: The Series
Giles as a Classicist


Plebs is an ITV sitcom set in a slightly surreal, modernised version of ancient Rome in the
significant year 27 BC. It follows the misadventures of Stylax, Marcus and their slave Grumio, and Marcus's attempts to woo their neighbour Cynthia without her slave Metella getting in the way.

1.01 The Orgy
1.02 The Gladiator
1.03 The Erotic Vase
1.04 The Herpes Cat
1.05 Bananae
1.06 Saturnalia

2.01 The Chariot
2.02 The Best Men
2.03 The Baby
2.04 The Patron
2.05 The New Slave

Doctor Who

Britain's answer to Star Trek (except it predates it and the Borg are clearly redesigned Cybermen), Doctor Who ran short serials made up of 2-6 episodes (mostly) from 1963-1989, then came back with a bang in 45-minute single story form (more or less) in 2005. In between, the BBC joined with several American companies to produce a TV movie starring Paul McGann. Many fans of Classic Who, New Who or both despise this one-off adventure - I love it. Paul McGann is far and away my favourite Doctor, probably because he's the first one I saw, having grown up in the otherwise Who-less 1990s.

The show has changed a lot over the course of fifty years, and although it doesn't always deliver, the good episodes are very, very good. The Doctor's ship, the TARDIS, travels throughout time and space so every now and again, to my delight, the Doctor visits the Classical world and I get to blog about it. In recent years, he has also acquired an archaeologist friend who's basically a female Indiana Jones, so I blog about her too.

Classic Who

The Romans
The Slave Traders
All Roads Lead to Rome

The Myth Makers
Temple of Secrets
Small Prophet, Quick Return
Death of a Spy
Horse of Destruction

New Who
4.2 The Fires of Pompeii
4.8/4.9 Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead

5.4 The Time of Angels
5.5 Flesh and Stone
5.12 The Pandorica Opens
5.13 The Big Bang

6.1 The Impossible Astronaut and 6.2 Day of the Moon
6.3 The Curse of the Black Spot
6.7 A Good Man Goes to War
6.8 Let's Kill Hitler
6.13 The Wedding of River Song

7.2 Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
7.12 Nightmare in Silver

The Day of the Doctor

10.10 The Eaters of Light

Major Motion Pictures

This page is for the big ancient world films. You know the ones I mean - those films that you automatically think of when you hear 'ancient Rome' or 'ancient Greece'. The classics. And the not-so-classics. Lots of Roman history, lots of Greek mythology, but more rarely vice versa, for reasons known only to filmmakers. All (well, a representative sample anyway) dissected, nit-picked and reviewed here. If you can't see the one you're looking for, feel free to suggest it in the comments! I can't promise instant reviews, as I have a finite DVD collection, limited time and no money, but I'll do my best.

300: Rise of an Empire
The 300 Spartans
Alexander the Great
Ben-Hur (1925)
Ben-Hur (1959)
Carry On Cleo
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clash of the Titans (2010)
The Eagle
Fellini Satyricon
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
The Gladiators
Jason and the Argonauts
Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
The Last Legion 
O Brother Where Art Thou?
Quo Vadis?
The Robe
Up Pompeii!
Wrath of the Titans

Biblical/Jesus films
The Gospel According to Matthew
Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesus of Nazareth
Monty Python's Life of Brian
The Passion of the Christ

Some Significant Others
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
The Matrix
My Fair Lady
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Star Wars

Star Trek

I love Star Trek, in all its forms (well, except Enterprise, which I just kind of like but don't tend to watch). I've proudly self-identified as a Trekkie (not Trekker - if you know the difference, you're a Trekkie by default) for years and have even been to a convention and everything.

My absolute favourite Star Trek series is Voyager. I will not be moved on this and I will politely ignore any attempts to persuade me that Voyager is anything other than fabulous! Even 'Threshold', which I believe has beaten 'Spock's Brain' to the title of Worst Episode of Star Trek Ever, is absolutely hilarious as long as you don't take it seriously. This is generally the key to enjoying Voyager and, indeed, all Star Trek - don't take it seriously. Except when it's being serious.

I also love the Original/Classic/Whatever series and especially the films, which made me fall in love with Star Trek in the first place. The Next Generation was fondly watched when I was younger and although I don't always remember it too well, I love it. I haven't seen so much Deep Space Nine, but it gave us the fantastic anniversary episode 'Trials and Tribbleations', for which we must be eternally grateful.

Star Trek
1.14 Balance of Terror
2.02 Who Mourns for Adonais?

2.04 Mirror, Mirror
2.16 The Gamesters of Triskelion
2.25 Bread and Circuses
3.10 Plato's Stepchildren
Film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Film Star Trek (2009)
The Next Generation
5.02 Darmok
4.13 Waking Moments
4.23 Living Witness
5.23 11:59
6.22 Muse

I review Star Trek Voyager for Billie Doux - index page here.

Me at the Star Trek: Voyager convention, dressed up for the Holodeck-themed party on the left (I nicked the lei from Hawaiian Night at work, where we had to waitress in them, and just threw on some summer clothes!) and wearing a tiny comm badge on the right, so small it's invisible to the naked eye. This was way back in 2001; I'm not quite so fresh-faced any more. Robbie McNeil made my year by putting kisses on the signed photo I got of me and him, for which I will love him forever.

Harry Potter

I don't think I really need to introduce Harry Potter, do I?! I've reviewed all the films individually, and done a couple of block posts on some of the books, since the amount of Classical stuff in them varies a bit.

Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two

Books 1-3
Books 4-5: Centaurs and Sphinxes

Just out of interest, some lists!

Movies in order of preference:
1. Goblet of Fire
2. Deathly Hallows Pt 1
3. Half-Blood Prince
4. Deathly Hallows Pt 2
5. Order of the Phoenix
6. Prisoner of Azkaban
7. Philosopher's Stone
8. Chamber of Secrets

Books in order of preference:
1. Prisoner of Azkaban
2. Order of the Phoenix
3. Chamber of Secrets
4. Deathly Hallows
5. Philosopher's Stone
6. Half-Blood Prince
7. Goblet of Fire


Late and not at all lamented series about 'archaeologists' from the BBC. I've put the word 'archaeologists' in inverted commas, because I think Indiana Jones might actually be closer to real archaeology than this lot. At least he gives a lecture occasionally.

Army of God
The Eternal Fire
The Cradle of Civilisation
The Lines of War
Follow the Gleam

Chelmsford 123

A late-1980s British sitcom written by and starring Rory McGrath and Jimmy Mulville, Chelmsford 123 was a bit hit and miss, but always good fun. My favourite episodes are the very first and the very last, both of which feature the Emperor Hadrian as you've never seen him before, and subtitled Latin.

Series One

Arriverderci, Roma!
What's your Poison?
The Girl of my Dreams
One for the Road
Vidi, Veni, Vici
Peeled Grapes and Pedicures

Series Two
Heads You Lose
Get Well Soon
Bird Trouble
Odi et Amo
The Secret War
Mine's a Double
Something Beginning With E

The Roman Mysteries

A series of children's detective novels (middle grade) by Caroline Lawrence, set during the short reign of the Emperor Titus. Flavia Gemina and her friends Jonathan, Nubia and Lupus solve various mysteries including theft, kidnapping and murder, while navigating growing up in a culture where the girls expect to be married by the age of fifteen.

The books successfully walk a fine line between remaining suitable for the target age group, while staying faithful to the harsh realities of Roman life. Most of the earlier books stand alone to some extent, but the later stories are best read in order.

1. The Thieves of Ostia
2. The Secrets of Vesuvius
3. The Pirates of Pompeii
4. The Assassins of Rome
5. The Dolphins of Laurentum
6. The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina
7. The Enemies of Jupiter
8. The Gladiators from Capua
9. The Colossus of Rhodes
10. The Fugitive from Corinth
11. The Sirens of Surrentum
12. The Charioteer of Delphi
13. The Slave-girl from Jerusalem
14. The Beggar of Volubilis
15. The Scribes from Alexandria
16. The Prophet from Ephesus
17. The Man from Pomegranate Street

Interview with Caroline Lawrence

The Roman Quests

This spin-off series is a direct sequel, picking up a few years after the end of the series and aimed at Young Adult, rather than Middle Grade, readers. As it follows a new set of teenaged protagonists, it can be read without prior knowledge of The Roman Mysteries, but certain revelations will mean more to readers of the earlier series, and it will spoil the resolution of ongoing threads from that series.

1. Escape from Rome
2. The Archers of Isca

The Roman Mystery Scrolls

There is another spin-off series, The Roman Mystery Scrolls, for younger readers (aimed at children of around 8 years old) which takes place after the action of the main series, but which can be read first without spoiling too much, and without needing any prior knowledge of the middle grade series.

The Sewer Demon
The Poisoned Honey Cake
The Thunder Omen
The Two-Faced God

Several of the books have been adapted for television by the BBC, in a production that looks absolutely gorgeous and boasts Simon Callow as Pliny the Younger - you didn't get this sort of thing on CBBC when I was watching it! (although Maid Marian and her Merry Men was the most awesome show ever all the same).

Series One
The Secrets of Vesuvius
The Pirates of Pompeii and The Assassins of Rome
The Dolphins of Laurentum
The Enemies of Jupiter

Series Two
The Gladiators from Capua
The Trials of Flavia Gemina
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Fugitive from Corinth
The Slave Girl from Jerusalem

Also by Caroline Lawrence: Travel back in time to Roman London in The Time Travel Diaries!

Falco detective series

Lindsey Davis' Falco series is lighter than Steven Saylor's Gordianus in terms of both length and tone (earlier books are perhaps less light in tone than the later ones, but all are filled with a gloriously cynical strand of humour). Set during the reign of Vespasian, Falco works partly as a private informer and occasionally for the emperor, trying to save up enough money to move one more rung up the class ladder and marry his senatorial class girlfriend, Helena Justina. Davis takes us all over the Roman world, with regular checks in back at home in Rome, and we follow the trials and tribulations of Falco's lively extended family alongside his continuing attempts to make some money and stay alive.

Davis' historical novel about Vespasian's mistress, The Course of Honour, is also excellent and works well as a sort of semi-connected prequel to the Falco series.

1. The Silver Pigs (radio adaptation)
5. Poseidon's Gold (radio adaptation)
19. Alexandria

I, Claudius

Classic 1970s drama serial from the BBC, an adaptation of Robert Graves' novels I, Claudius and Claudius the God. It has all the usual drawbacks of a 1970s BBC series - all interior filming on limited sets, and the cast, although excellent, do tend to project as if to the back of the audience when standing in a room talking to one other person - but it's absolutely fantastic and a must-see.

It was I, Claudius that got me interested in Romans and Roman history, after some very dull classes in school on the layout of a villa or the parts of a Roman centurion's uniform had thoroughly put me off. If you watch nothing else, there are two scenes that you should seek out on YouTube immediately: the death of Augustus, a tour de force in terms of acting from BRIAN BLESSED, being absolutely silent and almost motionless, and anything involving Patrick Stewart (with hair!) especially his love scene with Livilla.

A Touch of Murder
Waiting in the Wings
What Shall We Do About Claudius?
Poison is Queen
Some Justice
Queen of Heaven
Reign of Terror
Zeus, by Jove!
Hail Who?
Fool's Luck
A God in Colchester
Old King Log

Source novel: Robert Graves' I, Claudius

Over Christmas and New Year 2010-2011, the BBC broadcast a new radio adaptation of the novels. It suffered a little from having to squeeze two novels into six episodes but included some nice scenes from the books that had been cut from the television version, and the cast is once again extraordinary, led by Tim McInnerny as Tiberius and best of all, Derek Jacobi as Augustus (confusing as this is for fans of the TV show!)


Xena: Warrior Princess

Classic mid-90s telefantasy show starring the ever-awesome Lucy Lawless as the Warrior Princess. I never watched this show at the time, so I'm catching up on it now. It's full of that wonderful innocence all those 90s adventure shows had, and is reminding me of happy hours spent watching Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as a teenager.

Season One
1.01 Sins of the Past
1.02 Chariots of War
1.03 Dreamworker
1.04 Cradle of Hope
1.05 The Path Not Taken and 1.06 The Reckoning
1.07 The Titans
1.08 Prometheus
1.09 Death in Chains
1.10 Hooves and Harlots
1.11 The Black Wolf
1.12 Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts
1.13 Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards
1.14 A Fistful of Dinars
1.15 Warrior... Princess
1.16 Mortal Beloved
1.17 The Royal Couple of Thieves
1.18 The Prodigal
1.19 Altared States
1.20 Ties that Bind
1.21 The Greater Good and 1.22 Callisto
1.23 Death Mask
1.24 Is There a Doctor in the House?

Season Two
2.01 Orphan of War
2.02 Remember Nothing

2.16 For Him the Bell Tolls

Season Three
3.02 Been There, Done That

3.04 The Deliverer

3.11 Maternal Instincts
3.12 The Bitter Suite

Hercules the Legendary Journeys: Let the Games Begin


Landmark drama series produced jointly by the BBC and HBO - at least, I think it was landmark, I have no idea who decides these things. But it was certainly a predecessor to The Tudors and, in a different way, to Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I used to emphasise how much sex and violence there was in it, until I saw the aforementioned Blood and Sand, and now Rome seems a bit tame by comparison. Put it next to I, Claudius and it looks a bit more extreme.

The story follows two main strands; yer' actual history, from Caesar's rise through to the deaths of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and the lives and misadventures of two soldiers from Caesar's Thirteenth Legion. These two have names taken from Caesar's Gallic Wars, but everything else about them is fictional. I call them Boring Soldier (later, The Godfather) and Dodgey Soldier, the names OldHousemate(theRomeone) and I gave them when we first watched the series back in 2005.

Season One
1.01 The Stolen Eagle
1.02 How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic
1.03 An Owl in a Thornbush
1.04 Stealing from Saturn
1.05 The Ram has Touched the Wall
1.06 Egeria
1.07 Pharsalus
1.08 Caesarion
1.09 Utica
1.10 Triumph
1.11 The Spoils
1.12 Kalends of February 

Season Two
2.01 Passover
2.02 Son of Hades
2.03 These Being the Words of Marcus Tullius Cicero
2.04 Testudo et Lepus (The Tortoise and the Hare)
2.05 Heroes of the Republic
2.06 Philippi
2.07 Death Mask
2.08 A Necessary Fiction
2.09 Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus (No God Can Stop a Hungry Man)
2.10 De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)

Game of Thrones

You can follow George RR Martin's saga of death, incest, death, zombies, death, dragons and more death in one of two forms. The original book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, consists of five books so far in hardback or seven in paperback, and is planned to run to seven volumes overall, chronicling the fight for the Iron Throne of Westeros, a long-drawn-out conflict that may or may not become completely irrelevant if and when the whole country is overrun by zombies. Alternatively, since the books are really quite long and contain many chapters about dull, unpleasant people in the Iron Islands, you can watch the HBO adaptation Game of Thrones (named for the first book, A Game of Thrones). Much as I love the books, the adaptation is most definitely slightly shorter, slightly funnier and slightly nicer. It is also completely awesome on just about every level. Plus, for inhabitants of a cold country, the unusually attractive people of Westeros are remarkably ready and willing to take their clothes off at the slightest provocation. However you choose to consume it, this is an unmissable series - make sure you catch up with it one way or another before someone tells you about That Thing That Happens in Part 3...

Game of Thrones Season One
A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords (Book 3)
A Song of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons (Book 5)
'The Lion and the Rose' (season four, episode two)
Game of Thrones, Season Five

You can read my thoughts on That Thing That Happened in Season Three - but only if you've seen or read it, or you'll spoil yourself - here. I have also written on My Least Favourite Scene in the Whole Story and co-written a piece pulling together various fan theories, and I've produced a list of Totally Accurate* Predictions for who will live and die in A Song of Ice and Fire.

*May not be totally accurate.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand

Spartacus: Blood and Sand is an historical drama made by the US channel Starz. Do not be fooled by the phrase 'historical drama' - there are no bonnets here! The main aim of Spartacus, as far as anyone can tell, is to throw as much fake blood and boobies at the screen as possible (leading to its common name among fans, Spartacus: Blood and Tits). The violence is the graphic novel/cartoon style of blood-heavy ultraviolence used in 300, so although it's not for the squeamish, it's so excessive and so self-consiously artistic that a former wimp like me can take it quite well.

In amongst all this gore and goop are genuinely fascinating, likeable or hateable, human characters and moving, if gross, stories. The show can be surprisngly historically accurate in unexpected ways (only Spartacus would show us the realistic workings of a Roman toilet) and the overall plot is loosely based on some actual history, so there's always a kernal of truth among the mayhem, however small. The brainchild of Buffy writer Steven DeKnight, it's full of deliberate humour as well as the more dubious pleasure of wondering what on earth made anyone think of that. Watch with friends and maybe some alcohol.

Sadly, the lead role of Spartacus had to be re-cast for Season 2 following the return of late star Andy Whitfield's cancer. While waiting for a verdict on Whitfield's health, the producers came up with the prequel series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which has all the qualities of its parent show, though it can take its characters misfortunes a little more seriously in places. The best thing about it is we get to see more of Lucy Lawless' Lucretia and John Hannah's Batiatus, the series' most colourful and entertaining characters.

Season One
1.01 The Red Serpent
1.02 Sacramentum Gladiatorum
1.03 Legends
1.04 The Thing in the Pit
1.05 Shadow Games
1.06 Delicate Things
1.07 Great and Unfortunate Things
1.08 Mark of the Brotherhood
1.09 Whore
1.10 Party Favours
1.11 Old Wounds
1.12 Revelations
1.13 Kill Them All

Season Two (Spartacus: Vengeance)
2.01 Fugitivus
2.02 A Place in This World
2.03 The Greater Good
2.04 Empty Hands
2.05 Libertus
2.06 Chosen Path
2.07 Sacramentum
2.08 Balance
2.09 Monsters
2.10 Wrath of the Gods

Season Three (Spartacus: War of the Damned)
3.01 Enemies of Rome
3.02 Wolves at the Gate
3.03 Men of Honour
3.04 Decimation
3.05 Blood Brothers
3.06 Spoils of War
3.07 Mors Indecepta
3.08 Separate Paths
3.09 The Dead and the Dying
3.10 Victory

Prequel Series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
0/5.01 Past Transgressions
0/5.02 Missio
0/5.03 Paterfamilias
0/5.4 Beneath the Mask
0/5.5 Reckoning
0/5.6 The Bitter End

CS Lewis/Narnia

My childhood heros were CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. I wanted to be them when I grew up. I am aware that this is perhaps a little unusual!

I fell in love with The Chronicles of Narnia from the moment I saw Lucy pull aside fur coats to reveal snow-covered fir trees in the 1988 BBC TV series and my love for these books goes beyond obsession and into something else. I once won a prize at school for a poem which heavily featured the line 'Once a King or Queen in Narnia, always a King or Queen' (I can't remember the rest of it now - goodness knows where it is...).

Although I'm religious, I was actually really annoyed when I asked Mum what Aslan's name was in our world and she told me. As far as I was concerned, Jesus was a person and Aslan was a lion and Narnia was a series of exciting stories that should have nothing to do with church. As an adult, I have both a greater appreciation of the various spiritual themes in the books, and an ongoing frustration with the more in-your-face bits of evangelism, that seem to spoil the books for so many non-religious readers when they get old enough to understand them.

I'm also a fan of Lewis' other work, especially The Screwtape Letters, and one of these days I will get around to reading the Out of the Silent Planet trilogy.

Since Tolkien was unkind enough hardly ever to use Classics in his work, I'll throw any posts that manage to squeeze him in onto this page as well!

The Domestication of Classical Mythology in the Chronicles of Narnia (academic paper on Classical myth in the series in general).
Prince Caspian adaptations 
CS Lewis' Lost Aeneid
Shadowlands (biopic)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (BBC, 1988)

The recent films
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 

The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings: Journey to the Underworld 
Fan-made Simarillion trailer
Ancient Ruins in Pop Culture 


Stargate was an early film from Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the team that brought you Independence Day and Godzilla. It starred Kurt Russell and James Spader as a retired Air Force Colonel and an Egyptologist, respectively, who go through a mysterious 'gate' discovered near Giza and discover an alien planet that bears a remarkable resemblence to ancient Egypt (complete with weird alien pseudo-camels, which it shouldn't really have because the Romans brought camels to Egypt...).

The concept was later expanded and developed to become a hit TV series, Stargate: SG-1, which starred MacGuyver, ran for ten years, and produced two spin-offs, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: Universe (all of which have now been cancelled). I've only really watched SG-1 so far, but I'm sure my brother will get me to watch some more Atlantis and Universe soon, he's been trying for long enough!


1.10 The Torment of Tantalus
1.14 Hathor
2.02 Seth
3.21 Crystal Skull
4.06 Window of Opportunity
4.13 The Curse

Red Dwarf

Classic BBC sitcom about the last human being alive, his dead bunkmate and their companions (an evolved cat, a computer of debateable intelligence and a downtrodden android). Series 1-6 are completely brilliant, Series 7 is hit and miss with more misses than hits, Series 8 contains exactly one good joke and the recent mini-series was... interesting. My first ever full post on the blog was on Red Dwarf, so I think it deserves its own page!

Meltdown (4.6)
The Inquisitor (5.2)
Psirens (6.1)
Rimmerworld (6.5)
Lemons (10.3)

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