by Josie Kafka
HBO has finally ordered The Leftovers, Damon Lindelof’s series adaptation of Tom Perotta’s novel about those left behind on Earth after a rapture-like event. The series cast includes Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Michael Gaston, Brad Leland, Justin Theroux and Liv Tyler.
Lindelof also recently contributed to Unscrolled: 54 Artists and Writers Wrestle with the Torah, a new book that does exactly what the title implies. Lindelof’s contribution on the binding of Isaac was excerpted in Slate here, and is absolutely worth your time.
Norway, Part I
An exciting trend is sweeping—leisurely—across Norway: Slow TV. Back in February, the NRK channel hosted 12 hours of a crackling fire. In 2011, it was 5 ½ days of a cruise ship sailing across the ocean. Now, the newest offering is a riveting look at the process by which a sweater is made, from the sheep-shearing to the knitting. The Friday night prime time show will feature speed knitters to help Norway slowly beat Australia’s world record of four hours and 51 minutes from start to finish.
Norway, Part II
A few weeks ago, reader Henrik Bennetter introduced us all to the latest internet craze: a wacky music video by Norwegian TV hosts Bard and Vegard Ylvisaker, who go by the combined stage-name of Ylvis. “What Does the Fox Say?” is…well, I’ve embedded it below:
Ylvis’s kooky song has become a worldwide sensation, with over 100 million YouTube views; it hit number 6 on the Billboard Top 100 chart last week. Ylvis has been invited to appear on American shows like Today and Late Night. Perhaps most importantly, the brothers’ surprise hit garnered an article in the New York Times, America’s paper of record. I guess, what with the government shutdown and all, the best use of our time is to wonder what the fox says. And to wonder if we can move to Norway.
Yep, Still Breaking Bad
The governor of Idaho has declared homegrown Boise boy Aaron Paul a state hero, and has given him a day: October 1st is now—and will ever be—Aaron Paul Sturtevant Day.
I would like a day, please. Even a silly day, like December 9th. No one wants December 9th. May I have a day, please?
This Week in Casts
• Kate Walsh (Private Practice) and Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad) have been cast in FX’s upcoming 10-episode adaptation of Fargo.
• Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones, Nashville) will have a recurring role on Orphan Black. He will be played by Tatiana Maslany.
• Robert Patrick will have a guest-starring role on a mid-season episode of Community.
• Titus Welliver (who shops at my Trader Joe’s; have I mentioned that?) will guest-star in the sixth episode of SHIELD.
• Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse, Community, Person of Interest) will have a “major recurring role” on the Witches of East End. I am suddenly interested in watching that show.
For the past few weeks Amazon’s forays into TV shows have appeared in this column: first, there was Titus Welliver (we shop at the same store, you know) in an adaptation of Michael Connelly’s mystery series, then news of three other new shows from the little bookseller-that-could. This week, Chris Carter (X-Files) has been tapped as showrunner for The After, which “will be set at the moment of the apocalypse.”
I recently recommended Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, which everyone but me discovered in the 90s. This week, I’d like to recommend a similar book: Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Loner newbie at an elite private school? Check. Mysterious charismatic teacher influencing a motley crew of disaffected youth? Check. Dense, playful prose? Check and check.
Pessl’s novel, like Tartt’s, made big news in publishing circles when it first came out—and deservedly so. It is a female bildungsroman that is both pop-culture and high-culture literate; half the fun is watching the references zip past. I dreaded having to put it down and looked forward to picking it up again (and that’s even before the last quarter of the book, which gets delightfully weird). If you’re looking for an unputdownable-yet-nuanced tome to get lost in, I strongly recommend it.
Nine previously-lost episodes of Doctor Who have been discovered in Nigeria. The episodes all feature Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor, and include the first appearance of Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney). The recovered episodes include “four episodes of six-parter ‘The Web of Fear’… in which the Time Lord battles robot Yetis spreading a poisonous fungus on the London Underground,” according to the Guardian, which also reported that the third episode in that sequence is still missing.