Couple of Good Things

‘It Takes a Killer’ on CBS Reality

It’s not Mad Men or Girls, but I really can watch episode after episode of this. Each instalment chronicles a real-life murder or series of murders and the police investigation around them. The show is very fast-paced and has an assured, modern style. The video-game Metal Gear Solid springs to mind. Stuff flashes by: photos, maps, text, talking heads, stock visuals and snatches of reconstruction. On paying a little closer attention I noticed that every move is accompanied by either a ‘whoosh’ or ‘blade unsheathing’ sound effect. The guy working the sound board must surely have developed arthritis. The voice-over is as you’d expect from the title- grave, heading towards devilish- but not dorky and overdone in this case. The experts are compelling characters in their own right: Weary LAPD guy, distant 30-something English woman and slim pork-pie hat dude. There’s a lot of background material, footage and police evidence from each case, some of it jaw-dropping, and interesting wider perspectives are presented. I think much care has been taken. Two thumbs up.


I first heard the term ‘podcast’ back in 2009/10. To me it sounded like something both second-rate and troublesomely technical. I was aware that Ricky Gervais was doing one and I didn’t like the sound of it either- him and his mate laughing at a buffoonish third guy. That was it for me until 2014, when the podcast ‘Serial’ appeared and had HBO-like credibility. They’ve crept up in a big way since then and I have various ones on all the time now. Life is better for them- it’s ‘take what you’re given’ no longer culturally speaking (or even more-so now anyway), plus they make dull tasks tolerable.


21 thoughts on “Couple of Good Things

  1. The only show I’ve been into lately is Black Mirror. I do like murder investigation stuff, though (like True Detective) so I’m intrigued. Podcasts have become quite popular and most people I know regularly listen to at least one. I listen to a self-help one on minimalism. Another friend of mine listens to “Missing Richard Simmons.” I was also interviewed on a podcast once along with another writer friend. It was ridiculous – I got nervous and floundered about. And absolutely, I only listen to them when I’m working on something monotonous and then it becomes a pleasant experience.

    • Oh yes Ive seen the latest series of Black Mirror- good stuff. Which episode of the latest series did you like best? What podcast were you interviewed on? Is it out there to listen to?

      • Well the writer is brilliant! He deserves a big budget and I look forward to more disturbing episodes. That rubbish podcast? It’s out there but I seem to have forgotten the name of it. Damn… 😉

      • The podcast is mainly two funny dudes talking about comics, movies, and pop culture in general. I’m friends with one of them from college – I had formed a small writing group with him back in time. So he was interviewing myself and another person from our writing group, who happens to be extremely outgoing. I’m terrible with improv and prefer to know the questions ahead of time so I can prepare satisfying answers. I’m a writer, not a speaker. The first half wasn’t too bad, I think at one point I went off on a tangent and didn’t even answer the original question. But towards the end was a lightning round of goofy questions and I was left “uhhh-ing and umming a lot” and the other guy did most of the talking. At one point I blurted out something super dirty, too. So that was nice! I felt anxious and dumb throughout the recording and was incredibly relieved when it was over with. I can only imagine the weird shit I’d say if this had been a TV interview.

      • I’m glad I got out of my comfort zone but I wouldn’t be thrilled to do it again. At least they gave me a cookie when it was over with. 🙂

  2. “Weary LAPD guy, distant 30-something English woman and slim pork-pie hat dude…” love this description and it sounds like my kind of show. Dark and atmospheric. I also like listening to podcasts when doing boring jobs around the house. Glad to see a new post from you!

    • Dark and atmospheric like your life a bit! Cheers, sorry to read that you’re getting antsy out in the wilds. I don’t think I could do it. But you sure can write about it! I wonder what your writing about city life would be like!

      • Haha, yes… but not in a finding bodies in my wardrobe kind of way 😉 There are a lot of times when I wonder how I do it too, but interestingly these are often when I’ve just returned from the city. I was in Edinburgh last month which probably sparked the job-hunting thing – looking at all these important people rushing about with their Starbucks coffees and wishing I was one of them. But then I used to be one of them and I always hated it 🙂

      • The plainly visible pecking order of people in the center of town during work hours destroys me. People who look superior and poor idiots who look inferior. Ha! Lucky you to have been one of the glossy people. Maybe that comes with experience, I dunno.

      • Och, I didn’t mean glossy! Not even important – just one of the people with a Starbucks in my hand! No, don’t ever be intimated by the glossy people – their lives are really very empty 🙂

  3. I’ve never listened to a podcast, I wouldn’t know how. I’m guessing you do it through headphones on your iPod or something.. but we don’t have internet in the main house so that might be a problem. I feel way behind the times.oh well something to learn in the next decade.

    • ‘Troublesomely technical’ was relatable then. That was knee-jerk though. It’s like radio programming but you go to this or that website to play it. Or you can download them from the website onto your phone to listen on earphones. I think ipods are dead now however, because of smartphones. You don’t have internet in the ‘main house’? what does that mean? I’ve been enjoying all your recent posts by the way. Just not ‘liking’ for some reason. Thought it wasn’t necessary. Planning on having a read of your new book too- looking forward to it.

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