Friday Roundup: Sapphire & Steel, Duran Duran’s “Pressure Off”, Jem and the Holograms
Amateur mixology corner: As we move into the holidays, I'm trying to come up with new, festive cocktails. Here's my best effort thus far. I'm calling this a Peach Schnapple, because I've been unable to dream up a less-awful name. Take an ounce of bourbon, an ounce of peach schnapps, half a cup of cold peach tea (I’m using herbal; you could easily substitute a flavored black tea if you wanted to amp up the Snapple™ resemblance), and a healthy squeeze of lemon. I’m using the crappy packaged kind, because I have no fresh lemons on hand. Would fresh lemon juice work better? Hells yeah.
Combine, stir, and serve over ice. Unbeatable color and a clean, fresh taste. Look how pretty that is! Probably more of a late-summer drink, really, but our weather has been strangely warm and sunny this week, so it works.
First and foremost: Duranalysis is back! I posted the Duranalysis of the brand-new “Pressure Off” video earlier today. I’m retiring Miami Vice Mondays for the time being in favor of weekly new Duranalyses through the end of the year. Posting schedule will probably be adjusted thusly: Man from U.N.C.L.E. recaps will be switched to Tuesdays, Duranalyses will be on Thursdays, and these roundups will continue on Fridays. We’ll see how that works. I have quiet doubts about my ability to come up with a constant stream of fresh Duranalysis topics for the next ten weeks or so, but I’m going to give it an honest try.
This week, we binge-watched our way through the entire run of Sapphire & Steel, the British sci-fi series that ran on ITV from 1979 to 1982. Joanna Lumley and David McCallum star as the titular characters, which I figure makes it either the bizarre lost season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., or the bizarre lost season of Absolutely Fabulous, or maybe some strange hybrid of both. I’ll probably do an in-depth overview of the series in the coming days, but for now, suffice it to say that it is: a) very, very weird, and b) very, very good. Cryptic plotting, glacial pacing, minimalist sets, and yet somehow it all manages to create some damn good, scary, creepy, evocative television; I’ve been having Sapphire & Steel-fueled nightmares ever since finishing the series. Sapphire and Steel are mysterious (and sexy) supernatural beings who are sent by some unknown higher authority to fix problems in time. Both have superpowers: Lumley’s Sapphire can rewind time, and she can gain knowledge about objects by touching them, whereas McCallum’s Steel is super-strong and nearly invulnerable, and he can freeze objects to subzero temperatures (his most formidable power, though, is his super-dickishness: He’s cold, prickly, and hilariously mean). Anyway, some kind soul put the entire six-volume series up on YouTube; if you’re in the mood to fall down an especially creepy rabbit hole, start here.
Here’s a good seven-minute overview of the show:
Hey, that Jem and the Holograms movie looks ridiculously bad, right? I’ve been delighting in the hilariously terrible reviews that are trickling in. From Ignatiy Vishnevetsky at the AVClub: “Made on the cheap, the live-action adaptation of the popular ’80s cartoon Jem And The Holograms often resembles a mockbuster of itself, perhaps titled Jam And The Horoglams and distributed directly to gas stations.” From io9’s Charlie Jane Anders: “If you hate young people but want to pander to them for some reason—like, if you have loathsome, foul-smelling stepchildren—you can always take them to see Jem and the Holograms.” Ooooo. It was obvious from the start the movie was going to be bad, but this sounds like we’re approaching bold new levels of awful. I may have to see it. Or maybe I’ll just pound back a bunch of episodes of the bad-but-in-the best-possible-way original eighties cartoon.
I’ve been in a Metropolis frame of mind ever since name-checking it in my “Pressure Off” Duranalysis, so I’m going to leave you with the trailer. The film, which is silent, came out in 1927, and many versions exist with many different soundtracks; because I’m a child of the eighties, this trailer is for the version with Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 soundtrack, featuring Freddie Mercury, Pat Benatar, Adam Ant, and Bonnie Tyler.
More next week.