Johnny- I Hardly Knew Ye –

Sgt. John Porter Courtesy R.A.Net.com

Sgt. John Porter
Courtesy R.A.Net.com

Five days after Richard Armitage tore into my life in a whirlwind, I was scavenging around for more to watch. Having seen all of his Spooks seasons and Robin Hood, I was delighted when I discovered Strike Back. More! There was More- right there on Amazon, practically free to stream. Instant Armitage.

I settled in, and started to stream the episode. It looked good. Good music. There was his name up on the screen. Even in these early days of my fandom, I appreciated the difference between Strike Back and the other shows. This was a promotion. Richard Armitage was the STAR! No more ensemble cast. No more humiliated Guy of Gisborne. No more sharing third billing to two other less compelling (in my view) actors. Two seasons of Richard Armitage, the STAR.  And I was just beginning.

So when three minutes in John Porter was shot in the head, it didn’t bother me a bit. Oh- this is like what happened to Harry on Spooks– it’s not real. It can’t be real- the damned series just started.

I sat there impatiently waiting for the plot to unfold – for  John Porter to reappear.  And he did.  Again and again – he got shot in the head, keeled over, and some guy on the screen rewound the tape and it started again. Rewind, Repeat.

What did I miss? Eventually, I went back to Amazon to see if I’d purchased the wrong episode. No. Long story short- Cinemax lied. This wasn’t the first season- this was the second season. And John Porter wasn’t coming back. This was no Harry Pierce *execution* – this was Danny!

I was deflated. I was pissed. I was back with Guy. But just for a while. A few weeks later the *real* Strike Back arrived and I was as happy as a clam at high tide.

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There was Richard Armitage, looking the most gorgeous I had ever seen him. Buff, clean cut, sexy, steamy. And the first two episodes gripped me. (*real* discussion in later posts). He was stunning; his character was multi-dimensional; other characters were good; there was the promise of romance; intrigue; action. Strike Back had it all.

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And then it was over.

I get that The Hobbit was an opportunity that Richard Armitage could not pass up. And in the long run, his taking the role of Thorin Oakenshield will be better for me, as well.  I agree- Armitage had to strike out from  Strike Back to strike through to stardom

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But only six hours of John Porter was a promise unfulfilled. There is so much more to be revealed.

John Porter – we hardly got to know ya’.

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56 thoughts on “Johnny- I Hardly Knew Ye –

  1. I love me some John Porter! I too get all of the reasons to jump ship, and I know there’s no going back, but I would surely love more, more, more…(Probably one reason I’m 13 chapters into a SB fan fiction 🙂 )

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  2. As Obscura knows, JP inspired me to write my own SB fanfic which I had the hardest time wrapping up because I didn’t want to leave my beloved Portah. RA was fantastic as that character and those new guys in the American reboot are but a pale imitation IMHO. Yes, I think it was all for the best in the end, but I still can’t help but wish we’d gotten more of JP. *sigh*

    And I wish that the stinkin’ writers had come up with some other way to write the character out of the show. Hell, leave in the Land Rover roaming the desert . . . that was just—uncalled for. 😦

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  3. your experience, sitting down to watch and seeing him killed, is how so many first discover John Porter 😦 but on the other hand, I discovered him in the right order, and although I had an inkling what was about to happen in that first episode of the second season…straight away, right at the beginning? really?! it was still traumatic.there was NO NEED for them to end his character that way. marketing, shameful marketing.

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      • not only that aspect, but just the pure shock value. if they thought they were bringing in realism, since Porter dealt with terrorists so much himself, at least draw the story out a bit so we have a chance to really grasp what is happening before it happens. I did not like the style it was done in.

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        • For me it was an example of violence porn—brutality for the sake of brutality, for shock value. Richard, as always, played the scene extremely well. But I have never re-watched that.It was worse than watching poor Lucas North’s demise and that made me sick. I watched the rest of the first ep and part of the second ep just to see if there were any flashbacks, anything more/new of RA—nothing but his photo on the bar as they had a drink in tribute to him.

          The original Strike Back had its flaws in terms of scriptwriting, some of which I tried to address in my fanfic (what happened to some of these characters, like Katie and As’ad) but for me it is bloody Shakespeare compared to the retooled version.

          As much as I wanted to see RA bring us more JP, I don’t think in the end he would have been happy with this dumbed-down, sexed-up version given to us by Cinemax. He would, as always, have made the best of it, but I think some of the old frustrations with scripts on previous productions would have come back to haunt the poor man.

          “Boobs, butts, bullets and bombs” are the mantra of the current show.

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          • Not surprising that’s the route Cinemax took I suppose…that ultra violent and gratuitous sex theme seems to be the niche market for them..and Starz too I think.

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            • Yes, although Starz tends to do it from more of a period/historical perspective re Magic City and DaVinci’s Demons. 😉 I understand they are sexing up the version of the White Queen to be shown here in the US.

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              • Ah yes…historicized sex :). I had the Spartacus stuff in my head which also fits the bill. It’s funny how there’s this perception of Americans as sort of puritanical, yet everything has to be sexed up to be marketable here…I get this hilarious image of Puritan Americans sneaking out to the barn to watch Cinemax and Starz!

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              • OH, yeah, forgot about Spartacus. That’s so true, too—we are supposed to be immune to the violence but uptight about the sex here, yet, look at what they do to sell this programming in the US market. Interesting, indeed—love the image of Patience and Temperance creeping to the barn to enjoy gaining some carnal knowledge via satellite!!

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  4. I’m not clear on the whole Strike Back jump to Cinemax at all. If RA had stayed on, I wonder how they would have altered the dynamic of his character, given that the Cinemax version has such a different feel to it. Would he still have been the sole protagonist? Would they have sexed up his character to fit their style of drama? Presumably the whole plot was rewritten when RA pulled out.

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    • I don’t have the answer to that, but probably someone does and we will hear it. I suspect that the change from a featured star to another ensemble cast was Cinemax’s idea once they partnered with – is is Sky? I guess they wanted to get some Americans in for their audience.

      I never watched it one minute after I turned it off that day. I assume there is a character about which we could say- that would have been Richard Armitage’s role.

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  5. I wonder how many people have had the same bothersome experience I had of ordering RA’s Strike Back on DVD from a local supplier only to be sent the Cinemax version- despite being explicit about which one I wanted. I ended up going into the shop in person to exchange it rather than try to explain it all (again) over the Internet.

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    • there just seems to be confusion all around when it comes to the two different versions of Strike Back! I’ve read so many accounts of people ordering/viewing the non-RA version, not realizing that the “chris ryan” needs to be specified; the non-RA one is also promoted as “the complete first season”. grr! and now that the RA version has been released on blu-ray, those of us who live in the States are getting confused yet more by the fact that the blu-ray is not the correct region for our players *rolls eyes* Cinemax could be making a killing off of Richard’s recent success, but they continue to make a clusterf**k out of the whole entire thing! (can you tell I feel strongly about this issue? *laughs*)

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      • It’s false advertising really to keep the same title as a series that already exists, change the whole dynamic, and THEN call it series 1. They would have done better to leave RA out of Cinemax entirely, adopt a different title, and drop all pretense of connection with the Sky series. How do you come by the DVD in the US?

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        • I watched SB on the computer when it originally aired (the REAL SB) and then purchased the DVD from Amazon UK as I have a region-free player. So there was never any confusion for me—but then I am an “old” RA fan (six years) If it says “Project Dawn” on it anywhere, it is NOT the real thing.

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      • After it was all over, and when I went online to order it from Amazon, I saw that one or two reviewers cautioned that this was *not* the real season 1 and not the one with Richard Armitage. But this was as late as May- so it is possible those reviews weren’t there.

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  6. Just wondering about explicit shows on Cinemax or Starz- do they have to be screened after a certain hour at night? Do you have strict broadcasting rules like ‘watershed’ in Britain?

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    • I don’t think the same rules apply to premium cable channels as to network TV here…I remember being irritated that HBO aired few episodes of shows like the Sopranos and Rome at 8pm in my timezone…which I could never watch since I had young children up and around. I wonder what time Game of Thrones airs…

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    • It’s pay satellite/cable here so the same rules don’t apply as they do with our commercial broadcast networks, Katharine. All the networks—Showtime, HBO, CInemax, STARS, Encore, etc.—have original programming, much of which includes nudity, sexual situations, language and violence not depicted on NBC, CBS, ABC, etc. Although the lines seems to be blurring a bit as to what is allowed on commercial networks.

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        • “Copper” on BBCAmerica has been showing quite a bit of rear nudity, both male and female, and sex scenes along with quite a bit of violence. Of course, it’s basic cable-still, you wouldn’t have seen much of that a few years ago. And it’s not done in shadow, either.

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          • Wasn’t the first bare rear on network TV David Caruso in NYPD Blue?
            One night I came home late and there were cops and a body in my bldg lobby- for a minute I almost panicked, until a got a grip and saw – well a grip, and cables, lights, and David Caruso. They were filming. I had to step over everything, including the body, to get to the elevator. I think about that incident all the time now. What if…..

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          • I think the standards in general have relaxed drastically in the past five years – the nudity doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the violence…I really like The Walking Dead, but the gore! (I know, I know – Zombie Apocalypse – what do I expect) This is another example of what is coming up as original programming on basic cable – A&E isn’t it?

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  7. Cable channels, or ‘pay tv’ as we call it, are pretty pricey here in Australia- it’s bundled up in such a way that you can’t just subscribe to what you actually want. We only have ‘free to air’ at home,which eventually screens some HBO shows like Boardwalk Empire and Deadwood and such, but often way after the shows were released. We don’t have any service like Netflix on offer here, so on demand isn’t an option for us.
    Our public broadcaster ABC which airs most of the BBC programs (without ads- hallelujah!) has been a great source of quality shows over the years but now our own dear (!!) Rupert Murdoch has done a deal with the BBC starting next year to take the bulk of their good stuff on to cable- grr! The only thing that’s been guaranteed to stay put is Doctor Who. Here endeth the rant!

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  8. Pingback: Richard Armitage Legenda 89: Stuff worth reading | Me + Richard Armitage

    • There are loads. It was one of the most infuriating, frustrating days in a long time. At least I didn’t shell out for the wrong DVD, as I found that a number of people on Amazon did because of the false advertising.

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      • Well, now I feel exactly the same way. Because it appears that the Blu-Ray Sky1 Strike Back that I just received will not play and may be a regional issue. Research has indicated that this is happening very commonly. All I can say now is – and excuse me – Fuck!

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  9. I don’t allow the word Fuck, Fuck Fuck on this blog – well OK- maybe in the comments. Fuck!
    I know nothing about BluRay. I thought they were region free. Put up your own post and get some advice through the hundreds who follow you. DO IT NOW.

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  10. Pingback: Johnny’d B Goode Again – though he might be Johnny Angel | Armitage Agonistes

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