Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Moorcock, le Carre and Mae West

May 22nd, 2018 | Robin


Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

One of us must be in crunch mode, but here’s the other with an all-recommendation round of media consumption.


Brooklyn Nine Nine Season 5 (Television, US, FOX, Dan Goor, 2017-2018) Jake and Amy prepare for their wedding as Amy gets a promotion and Holt goes up for commissioner. Stays as solid as ever while showing how to advance characters without bending them out of shape.—RDL

Gotham Season 4 (Television, US, FOX, Danny Cannon, 2017-2018) Young Bruce reels from his killing of Ra’s al-Ghul and Jim Gordon watches another ex join the underworld. Highlighted by a classic rendition of the Joker from Cameron Monaghan, which brilliantly references the entire Romero-to-Ledger spectrum, capped by a weido reverse version. —RDL

A Legacy of Spies (Fiction, John le Carré, 2017) When a civil suit threatens to expose a decades-old operation, the feckless muppets running today’s MI6, decide to scapegoat Peter Guillam, right-hand to Cold War spymaster George Smiley. Flashback structure makes this both prequel and sequel to The Spy Who Came Out of the Cold, as seen through the lens of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. More a coda to those two masterpieces than a standalone work, so not the place to start with le Carré.—RDL

Night After Night (Film, US, Archie Mayo, 1932) Good-hearted speakeasy owner (George Raft) falls for a melancholy young woman (Constance Cummings) from a formerly wealthy family. The uncredited hand of screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz grants depth and sympathy to what in any other version of this film would be a collection of Runyonesque stock characters. Featuring Mae West and a nonchalant, positive lesbian subplot.—RDL

Phoenix in Obsidian (Fiction, Michael Moorcock, 1970) In part two of the Eternal Champion sub-series, Erekose becomes wintry warrior Urlik Skarsol and reunites with the black sword. A lesson in stripped-down, image-rich sword and sorcery from the days before fantasy was struck by the Great Word Count Bloat.—RDL

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