Professor Plum yawned as he walked into the mail room. “I’m not tired,” he said, “so someone in Australia must be getting sleepy.”

He read the mail…. (More)

Ms. Scarlet took Professor Plum’s hand and they left to join the resident faculty in the wine cellar library, where they’ll spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”).

In the staff poker game, the Professor of Astrology Janitor wished he could step into Chef’s mind. He opened the pot by raising with a pair of red Jacks, and Chef called. When the flop brought the King and Queen of Clubs and the Ten of Diamonds, the Professor of Astrology Janitor bet half the pot, both to continue his opening play and because an Ace or Nine would give him a straight.

But Chef replied with a pot-sized raise. She would surely have raised before the flop with a pair of Aces, Kings, or Queens. She might have called with an Ace-Jack, but with Ace-high straight she would want to keep him in the pot. The Professor of Astrology Janitor discounted those hands. More likely, he decided, Chef called with a pair of Tens or a suited King-Queen. With three of a kind or two pair, wanted to win the pot before he could complete a straight or flush. And the pot odds didn’t quite justify a call. He sighed and folded his red Jacks.

“Whew,” Chef said, flashing two black Jacks. “I had outs, but….”

The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling and Chef went to the kitchen to make Chole Bhature, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

The trailers for Netflix’s new series Sense8 look really exciting but the reviews weren’t so great. For example, Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff wrote:

The Wachowskis and Straczynski have mostly doled out information about sensate powers in a way that works pretty well. The audience only slowly learns what’s up, because the characters are learning right alongside viewers. That makes the sequences where, say, the sensates suddenly realize they can call out to each other for help and possibly get someone to answer all the more exciting, because they’re depicted in the moment.

But the character drama stuff is not Sense8’s strong suit, and it’s wedded to leaden, expository dialogue that explains and over-explains, lest we miss the point of certain scenes. Nomi, for instance, launches into a lengthy monologue in episode two about her growing pride as a trans woman, and it feels less like organic dialogue and more like an online rant.

And Roger Ebert’s Brian Tallerico seemed confused:

What is Sense8? Three episodes in and I’m not even quite sure. It’s about interconnections and common human need. It’s about how we are more alike, even from a Chicago cop to an Indian bride, than we even think. And it’s not really like anything on television. Even if you consider it a “fascinating misfire,” this is what Netflix needs to do more of: push the boundaries of what we expect from them.

Although the rest of his review was very positive, Northern Bent’s Duncan kind of agreed with VanDerWerff:

Critics aren’t being particularly kind to the show, and in certain areas, they aren’t wrong. The massive cast is a little unwieldy, at times, and it’s hard to follow, especially in the beginning, all the things that are happening or supposed to be happening. It’s sometimes hard to relate to certain members of the cast, because splitting 12 one hour episodes between 8 equally important protagonists is difficult, for the viewer, and for the creators. The dialogue, at times, is overwrought, and seems a little awkward… But underneath all that, the show has a massive heart, and made me feel feels that I didn’t know I was really able to feel from watching TV.

But The Wrap’s Deborah Day is more generous:

As an offering from streaming-entertainment giant Netflix, Sense8 represents a gamble, as the material is new and the Wachowski brand could use a polish. But despite the lack of A-list Hollywood star power, the mysterious show boasts strong characters and compelling actors bringing them to life. And though the story sometimes meanders about like a child at play in a schoolyard, the premise holds enough intrigue to call viewers back to experience more.

NJ.com’s Vicki Hyman was more impressed:

In the early going, however, Sense8 is about the individual stories – about sexuality, identity and gender politics, about the comforts of conventionality, the weight of family expectations, and the yearning for authenticity – and, as the tales begin to intertwine, about the power of community and the hunger for connection.

So … should I watch Sense8?

Also, what is Chole Bhature and how do I make it?

Sensing Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Sensing Breakfast,

We applaud your decision to read several reviews, as reviewers often miss key details. For example, Nomi’s lengthy monologue on her identity and pride “feels … more like an online rant” because it is, in fact, an online rant that Nomi is posting on her LGBT blog. We thought that was obvious, but you can judge for yourself:

We think what makes Sense8 so brilliant is the intensely personal storytelling that some reviewers dismiss. The series is about eight people who – suddenly and at first inexplicably – begin to share each others’ experiences. We wonder what is happening and how it happens because the characters struggle with those same questions. We feel lost because they feel lost. We come to understand only as they come to understand. As that journey unfolds, we laugh and cry, hope and fear, with them.

Add to that brilliant cinematography – with each character’s story filmed on location in Seoul, San Francisco, Chicago, Mexico City, Iceland, London, Berlin, Nairobi, and Mumbai – and we see a world beyond typical TV fare. Sense8 is truly a visual and emotional feast.

As for Chole Bhature, it is a popular breakfast from India’s Punjab region. Chef uses the recipes below, from the Tasty Indian Recipes website. Bon appétit!

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Sources:

Todd VanDerWerff; Brian Tallerico; Duncan; Deborah Day; Vicki Hyman.

Chole Bhature recipe; Bhatura recipe.

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Happy Sunday!