Poldark (♦♦♦♦♦): this week I watched Season 1 of this co-production between the BBC and PBS. I watched the first two episodes back-to-back, and I got so fascinated that I binge watched the remaining episodes the following night. Yes, it's that good!
Poldark is a British period drama starring Aidan Turner (the gorgeous dwarf Kili of The Hobbit fame) in the leading role. Ross Poldark, the title character, is an aristocrat with a reckless past left behind thanks to having taken part in the American Revolutionary War in which he rose to the rank of captain.
Three years after being taken for dead, Poldark returns to his native Cornwall to find his beloved Elizabeth engaged to marry his cousin Francis. With his father dead, and his inherited estate in ruin, Ross must work hard to regain a fortune, meanwhile avoiding the pitfalls of someone in dire financial need.
Poldark is amazingly acted, with gorgeous cinematography and photography that take ample advantage of the luscious Cornish coast. If the technical achievements aren't enough enticement to watch, do it for its dramatic plot, at the heart of which lies a stirring love triangle, and a roguish hero with a heart of gold.
Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman (♦♦♦♦♦): while Season 1 of this popular science show emphasized questions related to cosmology, and quantum physics, Seasons 2 and 3 (2011 and 2012, respectively) explore existential questions, right at the frontiers between medicine, neuroscience, and philosophy. Scientists from other disciplines such as computer programming and robotics also contribute their expertise to address questions such as if there is life after death, if time exists or if it's an invented concept, if there is a sixth sense, what makes us who we are, if there is a superior race, if we can resurrect the dead, if humans invented God, and other mysteries of the subconscious mind.
As with Season 1, Seasons 2 and 3 explain difficult scientific theories and concepts partly in a visual way, with prominent scientists (and sometimes rogue ones) highlighting their contributions to their fields in an accessible way. If you are a science nerd, as I am, this show will be fodder for deep thoughts. If you aren't into science shows, Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman may well make a convert out of you.
The Tiger (Daeho, South Korean), (♦♦♦♦♦): Man-duk is the last, great hunter in a 1925 Korea occupied by Japanese troops. Hunting is illegal, but poachers make a living by selling dead animals to the invaders for collecting. Of special interest to the Japanese chief is a massive tiger which is famed to be the last living specimen in Korea. Man-duk is the only person in his village to know the tiger's trails by heart, but he refuses to capitalize on the reward for the animal's capture. Soon he will have no choice.
The Tiger—an atypical man vs. nature movie about old fashion revenge—is, possibly, the best movie I have watched in years. So impressed I was that I wondered whether a five star rating truly captures its greatness. I cried bucket loads with it; I hadn't expected to be as emotionally invested or as impressed as I was.