Monday, April 11, 2011

Going Postal

Sky Network, a british TV channel has been lately taking the works of Terry Pratchett and bringing them to the screen. Overall, they are respectful and well done though they suffer from a TV budget.

"Going Postal" is the latest of these. Part of Pratchett's "technology" branch of the great discworld tree it is a story about words, dreams, and papers. It's also the story of a man with the unfortunate name of "Moist." Is it any wonder he's taken to crime? A gentleman conman he has at the start of the story found himself in jail and then hung to nearly every inch of his life.


He wakes up in the office of Ankh Morpork's ruler Lord Ventinari. He's given the choice of either restarting the cities long dead post office, or he could leave through the door behind him. Moist being a rather suspicious fellow checks to see the door opens into a huge abyssal pit. So he takes the job. Not without reservations, or attempts to escape. He is brought back into the fold by Mr. Pump his golem parole officer.

Once at the post office he finds it stuffed with letters and staffed by two rather odd refugees of better times. Despite himself he begins to make good, but with no real zeal. That is, until he thinks he's found a new way to make money by inventing stamps.

Moist seems intent on going back to his old ways, but he's given a new direction from three fronts. Mr. Pump points out that despite his protests, he has to Mr. Pump's calculation killed 22 and fraction people with his "victimless" crimes. The second front comes in the formidable form of Adora who's current job is looking in on golems like Mr. Pump. She is Mt. Everest to a person like Moist who lives to charm others. As he tries to win her, he becomes involved in her past troubles. These past troubles form Moist's present problems in the form of murderous conman Reacher Gilt. Reacher is running the klacks, which are the steam tech competition to the post and he'll stop at nothing to quash any competition.

The story follows Moist's growth from a selfish charming lout to a true hero. The ups and downs of various scams to help the post office makes for a fascinating story. While the teleplay doesn't keep all the cool ideas Pratchett played with, it is still very smart and its fun seeing the invention of stamps in a new way.

Over all it's a smart production. I miss the true fantastic cosmopolitian nature of Ankh Morpork, but there's only so much you can do with a TV budget. The actors are good and sharp, and it's a fun show. I don't think they quite captured Reacher's character. He comes off much more of vaudvillian villain, rather than in the books a villain, playing a businessman, playing a villain.

Definitely look it up on You Tubes.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the insight into viewing it--loved the read!