Hannibal ClapsNBC’s Hannibal continues to impress me with its thoughtful and artistic exploration of the character Hannibal Lector as well as human nature in general.

The show’s emphasis on art, music, manners, and murder, also make it an unlikely renewal for NBC, a channel desperately racing to the creative bottom in a desperate attempt to regain its former glory.

Like the people who die in accidents by losing their cool and panicking, NBC is flailing and will no doubt turn to the usual raft of shows (reality TV, boring comedies, and dull remakes) that litter the American TV-scape.

So enjoy Hannibal as the fine meal that it is. Just don’t expect an encore.


UPDATE: Hannibal has been renewed which makes my assertion wrong. Something that I willingly accept if it means that this show will continue. Apparently its popularity among Hollywood insiders and with a vocal viewership was a contributing factor. I gratefully accept my “wrongness.”





I went to see Amaluna, the Cirque du Soleil show which just ended its run in Marymoor Park.  Amaluna is based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and has themes of light vs dark, good vs evil, and innocence turning to knowledge.

Prospera - Cirque du SoleilLike all Cirque du Soleil shows, Amaluna was a fantastic experience with great dancing, acrobatics, music, and art. However, one of the most powerful parts of the show was a very quiet but powerful scene in which a performer created a rotating fan with a 6-10 foot radius, picking up each of the long objects with her feet.

It was an amazing experience from a kendo or martial arts perspective because of the sheer concentration and physical balance that was required by the performer in order to pick up each part, balance it, and then continue until it was completed. Additionally, there was a performer sitting in the formal position, known as seiza in Japanese, off to seiza1the side. She was a gymnastic dancer and her poise when sitting was as compelling as the performer she was watching, with perfect form and radiating strength and stillness.

This impacted me and has become a useful benchmark for me as I train and judge my progression in all aspects of my kendo training.



Ragnor and FamilyHistory Channel has taken an uncharacteristic turn away from aliens and Hitler with its new series, Vikings.

Despite some historical inaccuracies (unlike in the series, Vikings were well-aware that England lay to the west and Scandinavian society was remarkably egalitarian whereas, in the series, the Viking chieftain is an autocratic ruler), the show is well-produced and has excellent actors, including Gabriel Byrne and Gustaf Skarsgard.

In the show, Viking attacks are merely reasons for plunder while recent scholarship has shown the possibility that Viking raids were retaliation for mass executions and forced conversions by Christian kings, specifically those of Charlemagne against the Danes.

History aside, the show is great. Produced by the same people who did The Tudors, it is rich and violent, perfectly reflecting the spirit of Dark Age Europe and the rise of the powerful Scandinavian force that we call the Vikings. A force that ranged across Northern Europe, Russia, and even to the walls of Constantinople.

Arrow: The Odyssey

Arrow - Got Glue - OdysseyAny time that a show uses content from the classics I get excited because it implies that the writers care enough to add depth to their efforts. For a show that is about redemption, growth, and revenge, it just makes a richer meal.

The CW’s Arrow continues to demonstrate that and the February 13 episode was great. I’ll avoid spoilers but the episode was about Oliver’s time on the island, his relationship with Slade Wilson and more of the back story of Yao Fei.

The Odyssey

We also get introduced to a future character from the DC lexicon, Shado and, as everyone can see from the promo pics on the internet, Felicity joins the team.

Arrow - Felicity Smoak

So that classical reference? It was a call phrase and an awesome one.

“Of all creatures that breathe and move upon the earth, nothing is bred that is weaker than man.” It is from Homer’s Odyssey, a story of a man who returns home against all odds. And a perfect phrase for this show.

The question is, can one really return home the same person?

Spartacus Is Back


And back with a vengeance!

The 3rd and final season of the epic show based on the historical slave revolt lead by a former gladiator named Spartacus (who also had a Gaulish gladiator as co-leader named Crixus), can be seen on Starz and they are offering the first episode for free online here.

With the introduction of the character of Crassus we finally get a Roman opponent who is both cunning and yet also with honor and some principles.

I really enjoyed how the episode presented Crassus, making him a more complex character than any of the previous Romans. Especially great was his relationship with his gladiator slave whom he trained with in the art of combat.

The actor playing Crassus is Simon Merrells and here’s a red-carpet interview with him. As with the previous seasons, all of the actors went through a grueling training program to get them to look and act as warriors trained for battle.

Looking forward to a great season and a dramatic send-off to Spartacus and his brave band!