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Posts posted by R.CAllen

  1. I’ve never seen the very first Batman (‘46) — it’s the one they made by chaining together a bunch of the serials together. The costume has always looked sort of pleasingly janky to me and the plot is apparently extremely extremely racist towards Japanese-Americans!?!? Haven’t seen the sequel from ‘49 either, which features a different cast. Hmm.


    Batman (‘66) is incredible. Adam West is ★★★★. I saw this and the show as a little little kid and did not in any way whatsoever interpret it as a comedy. It was deadly serious stuff to me. I found The Joker terrifying!!! There’s an episode in which he goes to Stately Wayne Manor and sneaks his way into The Batcave which was as grotesquely fear-inducing to me at that age as, like, The Strangers (‘08) is to grown-ups. I could not finish watching it! I insisted we switch the channel on my uncle’s television!! This would’ve been ... in the very very early nineties so I must’ve been five? Six? At the most?


    Keaton Batman likewise incredible. Also ★★★★. He is just this genuinely odd presence.


    Kilmer & Clooney also very very very good in the role. Gotta give them ★★★★. I am sensing a pattern here!!!!1!


    Kevin Conroy is Batman. There’s that episode of the animated series where somebody (the Mad Hatter!?) has hacked his way into Bruce Wayne’s dreams to give him nightmares for reasons and he figures it out because the voice in his head addresses himself as Bruce and that’s NOT what he calls himself. Same deal. When I hear the voice of Batman speaking in my head, when I’m reading the latest issue of Batman (Zdarsky’s doing great!), it is Conroy’s voice that speaks. When I see lightning and hear thunder in the camera obscura of my own inner consciousness they’re directly taken from the opening credits of the animated show.


    Gotta give both Will Arnett & Diedrich Bader a lot of credit. Great stuff! Anthony Ruivivar severely underrated too. Generally speaking, the cast of Beware The Batman (‘13-’14) is kind of top tier even as some other elements of the series come up short. I mean, Kurtwood Smith as Commissioner Gordon, Christopher McDonald as Harvey Dent, Lance Reddick as Ra’s al Ghul, Udo Kier, James Remar, CCH Pounder’s the mayor, all the stars are out!


    Christian Bale Batman good enough at the jokes. “I’m going to tell them it was all your idea.” Solid stuff. Not going to break the needle.


    Affleck Batman is very very good in that opening bit of Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice (‘16) where he’s just incredibly incredibly angry.


    Pattinson Batman is not too bad at being Bruce Wayne as a kind of non-entity, in as much or more of a disguise as when he’s wearing the suit.


    Oh, I feel like this is the thing I bring up whenever Batman pops up as a topic of discussion but here we go again nonetheless. Part of my problem re: modern Batman, ahem, modern Batmen is that they nearly always play the role better in some other movie. For Bale it was American Psycho (‘00) — he does Bruce Wayne’s manufactured authenticity and underlying sense of menace so much better as Patrick Bateman. For Affleck it was The Accountant (‘16) — you get the sense of his intelligence and, like, remoteness from this performance way more; uh, in fact, there’s a Batman manqué in Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible who is explicitly autistic. For Pattinson it was Cosmopolis (‘14) — this ultra-rich weirdo, there’s something more than a little Keaton-y in him there.


    tldr = “The actors who played Batman in movies and television I saw when I was a little kid were the best! The ones who do it nowadays are the worst! The same as, like, James Bond! What a coincidence! Who’da thunk it!?!?"

  2. This is not an original thought but the entire thing hinges on a multi-million dollar production being absolutely certain that an elderly senior citizen (Jonathan Banks was 67 years old when they began filming! He wasn’t exactly a spring chicken when they first introduced his character on BB, neither!) will be able to convincingly play a mortal threat to other characters for the remainder of the series.

    Like, if an anvil had fallen on any of the other actors the show’d probably have been able to work around it Odenkirk excepted, of course, and one almost did! but what could they’ve done without Mike!?!? Or with a Mike who was less good, less convincing, like, what if Jonathan Banks became a bad actor as he aged!? Or just started looking substantially and irrevocably different the way sometimes old people do, in a way that even a night shoot couldn’t obscure!? Crazy, crazy stuff.

  3. Amazing finale! V. moving! Love that they maintained the black’n’white aesthetic (but w/the tiny yellow glow of the lit cigarette!) for everything set ‘now’, y’know? Beautiful, beautiful. Television!


    * Really admired the simultaneous excesses and restraint as to who got to come back! I literally laughed aloud when we saw you-know-who! I know there’d been some discussion about bringing her in for the scenes where Chuck was in the hospital in previous years but it never quite worked out. Amazing! I’m chalking that there up to Column A but I’m also filing the absences of most of the deceased main cast into Column B.


    * A dumb half-joke which doesn’t quite make sense (because I think he only finds out how he can finagle Kim into the courtroom much later on; at that point he doesn’t even know she’s come clean about the murder) but I gotta drop it here anyway. Saul Goodman looks at the graffiti in that Omaha holding room, “MY LAWYR WILL REAM UR ASS”, and just artfully assembles a plan which will eventually allow Kim Wexler to peg him in some kinda conjugal visit sitch, right!? I don’t know. I don’t know why I’m making fun. I don’t know why I’m being gross. He chose a lifetime of imprisonment in order to gain her (and his own!) respect! The prospect of freedom meant nothing to him unless Giselle St. Claire loved him back! Love! Love is real!


    * I don’t think the drop of the book in the Chuck scene is hokey or dumb or forced. We know what Chuck reading to Jimmy as children meant to both of them. I don’t think we’ve ever seen much in the way of evidence that Chuck has a real appetite for science fiction per se — although his belief in fringe medicine to justify his mental illness probably must have come from somewhere — and I’m not going to dig around some fan nerd wiki to check either way but I think it works. I realize just by bringing it up I’m acknowledging the implicit criticism that IT IS too far; you could argue that the scene between the pair of them is good as is in terms of interconnecting with the Saul-Mike and Walt-Saul scenes and doesn’t need to make the time machine thing explicit to make sure the dots align. I don’t know.


    Best episodes of the show


    I did a rewatch of everything up to the current season somewhere in there. Uh, off the top of my head:


    • Season 1 finale! Especially that big scamming-the-town thing where he goes back to the old neighbourhood and has fun w/Mel Rodriguez.

    • Bagman’ Season 5, episode 8. This is the one this episode opens w/a flashback to. Hits really well on a rewatch because you see Jimmy shpritz some dirt off his shoes with his water bottle early on!

    • Nippy’ Season 6, episode 10. Just a beautiful episode of television!

    • Not a favourite episode but a favourite thing, I suppose. Mike’s daughter-in-law talks in group therapy about her fear of losing her memory of Matty’s voice, losing her memory of him, and of the morning she woke up and for the first time never gave Matty a thought. That becomes transmogrified later on into Mike’s advice to Saul about how to get through the trauma of the shootout in the desert. He sort of rejiggers her words and says, “Well, here’s what’s gonna happen. One day, one day, you’re gonna wake up. Eat your breakfast. Brush your teeth. Go about your business. And sooner or later you’re gonna realize you haven’t thought about it. None of it. And that’s the moment. You realize you can forget. When you know that’s possible it all gets easier.” Saul tells that over to Kim in an effort to make her believe that one day she’ll wake up and not even think about Howard’s death.

    • I realize that in order to do this properly I’d probably have to rewatch the series again and ask myself a number of yes/no questions about each episode and assign each episode its own point score. Did this episode feature a sequence of such bravura filmmaking unlike anything any other TV show would bother to do? Did this episode feature a musical needledrop so perfectly fitted to what’s going on onscreen that it now irrevocably attaches that particular piece of music to the show forevermore? Did this episode feature a feat of acting from the cast above and beyond the typically high level they tend to perform at? Did this episode feature an appearance from a beloved character actor? Was this beloved character actor a featured player on Mr. Show (‘95-’99, ‘15)? Was this beloved character actor the CHILD of a featured player on Mr. Show (‘95-’99, ‘15)? Were there really fun shenanigans and hijinks this episode? That sort of thing.

  4. been wracking my brain on and off again all weekend about how things are going to go down


    - Jimmy McGill, imprisoned and ... happy? In some ways, yeah, maybe. Running little scams to keep anyone else from cornering the market on ramen & cigarettes. Acting as a jailhouse lawyer to help his fellow inmates prepare their own self-defences. Getting one over on the guards.


    - Jimmy McGill, free and clear via trial by jury?? Genuinely think he could fill the courtroom with his former clients, hangers-ons, etcetera. Bring them up to the witness stand one at a time and have them testify about the sort of guy he is. Have him look the foreman in the eye and just say something, like, I don’t know, “most of us are too proud to say it but aren’t we all more than a little bit shook up after that airplane disaster? I can’t sleep nights. It was tough on me, not gonna lie, especially after the death of my brother. So, yeah, I gave the guy responsible for that a hard time. I never meant for it to go that far. It’s not my fault. But I didn’t kill him and if I’d gone to the police after I’d have been just as dead as him. I’m not brave. And, yeah, one of my clients was a high school teacher suffering from a debilitating illness who chose to provide for his (disabled!) son and pregnant wife in a way that might strike all of us as crossing the line but, let’s be honest, booze is way way way worse. I’m sorry. I’m not too ashamed to admit it. Yeah, I ran. What would you have done? I’ll tell you what, though, the thing that I’m most sorry for out of all the things I’m so sorry about. How it’s affected the people I love most. People like my clients. People like Ms. Wexler. Don’t have pity for me. Have pity for them!” Would something like that work? Is the series going to end with us not knowing if that sort of speech works or not? Maybe.


    - Jimmy/Saul/Gene/Viktor/????. A new identity from the vacuum cleaner man??? I don’t know. Robert Forster’s dead. Don’t see how this can be done in a really satisfying way what with that horrific obstacle. Plus, of course, they already did this kind of thing before in the Jesse movie. Still, can’t rule it out. It could work!


    - Jimmy dead? Suicide by cop? It’s like that line (Henry Adams?) of how if you’ve got a president or a vice-president in the family it’s like having a relative commit suicide. From then on it’s always an option. Has he got more Chuck in him than one might think? Would Jimmy rather die than be imprisoned? I mean, he has compassion enough for Carol Burnett not to ice her for a moment’s advantage. Does he have that compassion for himself? Can people change?


    Yeah. I don’t know. Maybe the yodelling ants from that dropped mint chocolate chip ice cream cone have been following him all this time all the way to Nebraska for more of that sweet sweet cream!?!? They’ve been patiently making their way and they want it, they can taste it, there’s no mayonnaise for them and they won’t settle for Miracle Whip, they know what they need. Maybe they finally catch up with him and make him their ant king like in that episode of The Outer Limits (‘95-’02)?

  5. Re: Rogue 3’s imagepost : I never put it together before that the Gene Takavic Cinnabon® narrative stream is being evoked by the black’n’white (and the loneliness!) of his Sand Piper commercial.

    Also, also, in the episode where we see the flashback where Chuck’s ex-wife, well, at the time she was just his wife, Rebecca, when Rebecca meet his brother for the first time and then she ends up liking him so much that it basically helps drive Chuck into full blown mental insanity (!?!?) before he gets to the house and they’re getting dinner ready there’s a whole scene where Chuck is saying we should work out some sort of signal if anyone’s uncomfortable and he explicitly references Carol Burnett, the Carol Burnett earlobe thing. If you watch the scene Michael McKean says the name Carol Burnett! Twice!

  6. I’d sort of half-convinced myself into thinking we’d never see really see Kim again, no closure, no nothing, maybe she’d even be dead or dying. I figured the show was going to go do a hard zag instead of a zig and would deliberately tweak any and all audience expectations. Instead, what I got was ten times worse (in a good way; that was a great episode of TV!) because I had to sit there and watch a Kim Wexler absolutely drained of any and all self-confidence in her own judgments, a Kim Wexler who can’t even bring herself to correct and revise and correct over and over again any of her documents, a Kim Wexler who can’t decide between two different flavours of ice cream, a Kim Wexler who gets plowed by some oaf she won’t even let stay the night, a Kim Wexler who finally does what’s right at long last and seems to feel no relief whatsoever (that’s how I took the breakdown on the bus; she finally came clean and it didn’t help her at all), a Kim Wexler who seems way less of herself than even Jimmy/Saul/Gene does at that stage in life. Horrible!

    Terrified of what’s to come next week. Am I going to see Jimmy/Saul/Gene die? Will Heisenberg-strength meth fumes resurrect Howard and Lalo’s intermingled corpses into a singleminded revenge monster? Will this Howduardo “Lamlo” Samlinacin be finally defeated by the immortal Kaylee Ehrmantraut, Mike’s granddaughter, whose age has been canonically indeterminable for the entirety of her years and years worth of appearances on Breaking Bad (‘08-’13) and Better Call Saul (‘15-’22)? WILL WE FINALLY SEE MARIE!?!?!?!?!? Terrific, terrific stuff. Television!

  7. I can’t find my copy of Hy Bender’s Sandman Companion (which, if memory serves, is a lengthy issue-by-issue overview of the series via an extended interview with Neil Gaiman; can’t remember if the artists, colourists, Todd Klein — wait, did anyone other than Todd Klein ever do the letters? not going to bother to check, sorry, you’re on your own — get interviewed too, I assume they did but maybe not to the same extent, I don’t know, could look it up, of course) but if I could then I’d be able to flesh out what I’m about to say, sorry, I can’t make the following two points with the necessary detail but just wanted to say :


    1) The series doesn’t really seem like the sort of thing that’d reward my interest? It’d have to meet with near-unanimous critical acclaim from certain ultra-specific sources in order to make me give it a shot. I tried w/Good Omens (‘19-’22???? What? they’re making more of it?????1?) and that kind of felt like a big waste of time so none of the points in its favour — great casting, creative involvement from Gaiman himself — really hold much water w/me. But the one thing they COULD do that’d make me check it out is if they adapted parts of The Sandman (‘88-’96, ‘03, ‘13-’15) which never actually got made. There was a whole arc planned out later in the series that he mapped out in detail which he actually ditched. He talks about in in the book, the Hy Bender book! From memory it involved a return of one of the victims of the sleeping sickness, I think he was black, Daniel Bustamonte (?) and also some friendly Satanists? It involved a lot of things. Gaiman lists them in a single paragraph. Wish I had the book in front of me. He was also going to do an arc riffing on themes of the myth of Orpheus. It was going to be a sequence of interconnected one-offs. But then he did some signings in America and every time a fan would ask him “Wow! Neil, what’s next? What’s going to happen next in your comic, Neil?” and he’d tell them they would just respond with “What? Do you mean Morpheus?” and he figured that the American educational system had failed an entire generation and everyone was so unfamiliar with the basic story of Orpheus & Eurydice that he may as well scrap the whole thing because it’d all go over their heads so he just did the Special w/Bryan Talbot instead to set up the final parts of the series. My point is this : I’m not really interested in seeing stuff I’ve already seen on the page show up on the screen. But I am really curious about seeing stuff on screen that’s never even been on the page. That could get me on board! So if they do that for Season 3 or 4 or whatever, wait, will Netflix give them that much time? entirely possible it doesn’t! Oh, there’s a good bit in the Hy Bender book where Gaiman is asked what he’d have done if the series had been cancelled in its earlier issues before it really became a success. He said he wouldn’t have tried to wrap up the whole plot then and there but instead would’ve just filled up the remaining space with a few short stories in the hope eventually somewhere down the line some friendly editor would ask him to pick up where he left off. That’s what they should do if they know they’re not going to get to do the whole show! If this first year is kind of a flop and they get one more year out of it, seems like that’s kind of the model the algorithm spits out, then next year should just be all new original stuff! Like, I’m pretty sure there’s, for example, there’s a big love story between Dream and another character, one of his many exes that he wronged, her name escapes me, it’s like Princess Zamunda or something like that, evocative, Google thinks I might be thinking of Alianora, maybe, I think we actually get a lot of the details there but I think there’s someone who’s only named and we get nothing else. Whatever. Okay, so for me, there’s like three different ways the series could intrigue me enough to give it a try. Okay, okay.


    2) Making Death a black woman is a really neat idea. There’s a recurring motif in the series of a young black woman being introduced and then immediately dying in horrific fashion, it keeps happening and happening, until eventually Hob Gadling goes to that ren fair with the black lady and the pattern is broken. They talk about this in the book! Not sure if this aspect of it has come up in any of the show’s publicity; I remember when some of the casting was announced and there was more of a generic flavour to talking about this and, for example, whatshername, Clara Oswald, Jenna Coleman as a gender-switched John Constantine. That also makes a lot of sense, y’know, because of the multiple existing Constantine adaptations as well as the fact that Gaiman already introduced a girl version of Constantine (ancestrally) in the series itself, y’know? I mean, this sort of thing always makes sense but in these particular two instances it makes sense again, even more so, on an additional level.


    Addendum : okay, I found my copy! I was somewhat mistaken and/or unclear on a few points here and there.


    a) There wasn’t going to be an entire arc of Orpheus-ish stories. Just the plan for the Special was going to be less a straightforward retelling of that particular myth and more riffs on that theme.




    b) The thing w/the black women is v. specif. them burning alive. Nada’s city is consumed by a fireball, Ruby dies in a hotel fire after she smokes in bed, Carla is incinerated by Loki. It’s explicitly referenced within the text itself when The Corinthian eats Ruby’s dead eyes.




    c) It wasn’t a complete planned arc I was thinking of. It would’ve been maybe four additional issues of the Season of Mists storyline dealing chiefly with the subplot of the dead returning to Earth because Lucifer has shuttered Hell. He wrote the first seven pages of it and then threw it away because he didn’t think the audience would have the patience for him to stretch things out that long at that time in the series. I’ll quote : “It was good material, involving creepy magical types on the run; a young lady named Isolde Bane and her baby Anthony, a group calling themselves the Fashion Satanists; and the return of Daniel Bustamonte from issue 1.”

  8. Got my second booster shot on Friday. Felt pretty bad over the weekend, not gonna lie, although I’m not entirely sure that’s the sole fault of Mr. and Mrs. Pfizer. Still, whaddyagonnado? Not get vaccinated every couple of months from now until the end of all things? No way! I’ll take all the vaccines I can get! Sign me up for the bivalent vaccine as soon as it’s available to me! Give me the shots! Shots, shot, shots! I’ll be a living God!

  9. 12 hours ago, Rogue 3 said:

    But… what was said on that phone call to Florida?  Was he actually speaking to her or being blocked from getting through?


    The first time I saw that scene it seemed absolutely obvious to me that they were having a quick clean short sharp non-conversation; something that we’re not privy to but are assumed to be able to have a good guess at the rough details without hearing the actual words themselves. I mean, it’s presumably Kim just telling him to turn himself in or eff off, right?

    It couldn’t be anything else in my mind until you raised that possibility and now I’m honestly wondering. Was the conversation with someone other than Kim? Kim dead? Kim have cancer? Looking up the timeline on the nerd wikis reveals that Jimmy has been Gene for ... hah! ... Jimmy has been Gene for only a few months. It’s still 2010! I don’t know. I wonder if the show is going to go a certain way with this, I wonder if we’re not going to get any reconciliation of any sort on any level between the two, I wonder if we may only see Rhea Seehorn again in flashbacks.

  10. 12? 13? 14? I don’t know. I don’t feel like I’m the age I am, that’s for sure. And I’ve always felt a sort of weird simultaneous melange of two contradictory feelings about whatever chronological year I actually factually am at — “I am young, so much younger than everyone else, everybody else can get things done because they’ve got so many years on me” and “I am too old, it’s too late for me, should’ve made those decisions years and years ago, it’s over!” and so now, for decades and decades, it never really reconciles into just one thing or the other. There’s a bit in one of John Hodgman’s more recent books where he talks about how his audience is this group of self-serious little mini-adults who are all about twelve or so (I don’t know why I identify with that so much; I was, like, eighteen when his first book was published but then again I’ve felt this way for pretty much forever, I felt this way at the time, I felt this way when I was a little little kid) and I remember reading that and going, yeah, that’s me. There I am.


    There’s another bit, hold on, I’ll go look it up, oh no, Google is no help on this. Can’t find the exact text. Something to the extent of a writer (Forster? Not sure who.) being aghast at the sight of his own face in the mirror, not recognizing it aged, because after all up until then he had been a young man all his life.

  11. season finale

    That opener is absolutely heaving w/metatextual resonances. Pike turning leftovers into a new meal. The base commander happy to get what he’s been asking for five years. Yeah!!!1!


    Wait, doesn’t this happen in a comic book???? Have a pretty strong memory of seeing Pike in a TOS-movie uniform from somewhere someplace.


    They already announced Paul Wesley as the new Kirk for Season 2 so having his name show up in the opening credits as a Special Guest Star kind of gives the game away.


    Omigosh they’re going full nerd w/this! They opened the episodes with the specific outposts from that episode! Pike is in command instead of Kirk during the episode where this all happened! Hah! Gotta give ‘em credit for this!


    Split diopter! Beautiful!


    Kind of hilarious they’re redoing one of the few episodes that guy, Kyle, is memorable in and they just decided to give all his lines to Ortega. Why even bring that guy back!? (Wait, was it Kyle or Stiles? Can’t remember off hand.)


    Not casting James M. Frain as the Romulan Commander??? Whyyyyyy???


    Wait, if Doctor M’Benga is still the CMO of Enterprise then why did they phrase Spock’s line about Pike being examined as “the doctor”? I took that as a tease for McCoy, guess it wasn’t, gotta assume he’s on the Farragut instead or whatever.


    Wait, is this the same guy as played Stonn??? Are they going Lawrence Montaigne with it???


    Hah! Referencing Nemesis (2002)??? Come on now!


    doing the Spike Lee shot? Hah!


    referencing Star Trek (2008)??? Come on now!


    Verdict: well, I liked it! I do think its slavish devotion to a sort of box-ticking reenactment of a specific episode kind of burdens the whole thing with a heavy load it can’t adequately maintain while moving at the pace it needs in order to function. The episode’s got no speed, no drive, no zip. I’m just constantly being tripped up while watching it wondering about things I wouldn’t be wondering about if they’d made a better choice. But that’s no fair! Gotta accept the episode we’re given and not theorize about how much better a hypothetical other episode could’ve been. This is the choice they made, this is the show we got, and I think it’s pretty good for what it is. Could’ve been worse. Could’ve had a dumb season finale all about Lt. Khan dealing with her idiot brother’s Gorn henchmen, y’know!? (Wait, now I’m complimenting the episode because of a hypothetical other worse one!? Uh oh!)


    Best first season of a Trek spin-off, I suppose. Might be more accurate to call it least worst, maybe. There is no one single stand out the way there usually is amidst the sea of drek which comprises most Trek spin-off’s first seasons but it never ever wallows in tedium the way all the others do, y’know? Most other first seasons are pretty bad with one or two good ones sprinkled in. This first season was never too bad, never sunk to any depths, just because there weren’t any strike-outs doesn’t mean the pitcher never threw any heaters. Baseball metaphor!? I don’t know. I liked it! Hope next year opens up with a proper courtroom episode for Number 1!




    They gave Sisko the Christopher Pike Medal of Valour because he too likes to cook for his crew!!1!!




    It kind of avoids the pitfalls of the Enterprise (‘01-’05) series finale through two things. 1, it’s just a straightforward retelling of its particular source material rather than dancing around the periphery like the series finale did. 2, its about the actual characters of the show itself rather than the guest-stars in a way the series finale wasn’t.


    But, yet, still, nevertheless, it’s still a lot like that series finale! Can’t have Kirk show up on Star Trek and not have the audience’s attention peeled away from everyone else, sorry. I mean, the episode does do a lot to make it be about Pike and Spock and Number 1. The straightforward story of the episode from soup to nuts, from the opener to the cliffhanger ending, is basically just “Pike teaches himself how important Spock is to himself, how willing he ought to be to sacrifice for him, by telling us all a story where Pike is in Kirk’s place so therefore Spock is in Number 1’s place so the eventual absence of Number 1 hits the hardest”, the episode is a kind of game of Yankee Swap. But the season so far has been about more than just those particular people — it’s been about Lt. Hemmer! he just died last week and he never even gets a mention! it’s been about Doctor M’Benga and his daughter, y’know? it’s been about the whole genetic dealio between Number 1 and Khan’s Kid! — and dropping in a new very particular and very important person into the mix rather than dealing with everything there is to deal with leaves me feeling kinda cheated. Why all this arc plotting, why all this prestige TV nonsense, if they’re just going to toss that out of the nearest airlock for the finale? I don’t know. Again, I don’t think that’d have been better per se. It’d just have been more fitting on the level of craftsmanship. Can’t fault them for wanting to deliver a big shebang for the season finale!

  12. ninth episode – this is the one that’s Aliens (1986)

    Wow! This blue alien guy looks great!


    Not the first time I’ve wondered if the order of these episodes was juggled! (Oh, wait, guess not?)


    Verdict : Not too bad! A rip-off but that’s one of the better things for an episode of Star Trek to be, y’know? Kinda hate all the tearful goodbyes. Prob. one of the worst things about DSC is that every other episode there’s a tearful goodbye. Whether or not it’s fitting to the characters or the needs of the story there’s just characters doing the send-off to other characters.

  13. eighth episode – this is the one that’s The Princess Bride (1987)

    Music cues reminiscent of VI playing as Dr. M’Benga does what basically amounts to a grade school child’s idea of medical experimentation — beakers, flasks, dripping coloured droplets from said beakers into said flasks — gotta give them credit, a strong choice, the show’s sensibilities are always on display to great effect.


    Augh! I hate it when he says “Pike to engineering” and we actually SEE engineering and Lt. Hemmer on the main screen!!!!1! I hate it so much! I’m going to be so disappointed if it turns out that this is actually a relatively commonplace bit of visual language which used to happen fairly often on the old show(s). Can’t stand it! Just have the characters talk to each other like normal! That’s not what the main screen is for! Auuuuuuugggggghhhhh.


    Wait, his first name is Joseph!? What!? Pretty sure it was Dr. Jabilu M’Benga in the books/comics, maybe even back to the original James M. Blish stuff. Okay, I checked. It was Jabilo and not Jabilu.


    Verdict : episode goofy but not the bad kind of goofy, y’know!? Gotta give them credit for that. Still, its moral conclusions are heavyhanded and fairly repugnant (not as bad as the episode of DSC where that guy just died on the asteroid and was left there to die, though) and not really well handled whatsoever. And the way the story is staged is just no good, no sir, can’t cut away from the one character who knows what’s going on to see what the other characters who don’t know what’s going on are doing. That’s no way to do it, man! Gotta stay with the point of view character(s)! In a sense, we, the audience, us, we’re Dr. M’Benga. We’re not, like, Queen Uhura or whatever. It would’ve been fair play to cut away to Lt. Hemmer, though. All in all though not too bad.

  14. I keep forgetting to give over my Star Trek thoughts, my Star Trek opinions, my Treknobabble.

    seventh episode

    Is that the first time we’ve seen a Jefferies tube on the show!? Neat! (Just before that, the soundtrack seemed somewhat reminiscent of a theme from VI, too!)


    Alpha Braga IV! Hah! Great! They should blow up Matalas Prime next!


    Wait, why do they fire on the ship!? They want that Vulcan guy alive, right!? (Omigosh! Incredible who that Vulcan guy turned out to be!)


    Tropic of Capricorn ref! Kind of coming up all over the place this week. Rewatched Philip Baker Hall’s Seinfeld and it’s the titular book in his episode that Jerry didn’t return to the library back in high school. (Actually, no, it’s not that book. It’s the other book ‘Tropic of Cancer’. Yeah. Anyway, Philip Baker Hall BD”E.)


    Verdict : good good ep. A heater, straight down the middle. Some small sketchiness around the details (re: communication, re: firing on T’Pring’s ship) but you gotta give them credit here! Solid!

  15. Just going to zoom through this and pick out the stuff I’ve seen and liked : The Handmaid’s Tale, Difficult People, Future Man, Solar Opposites, I thought the Hillary docuseries was kind of interesting (there’s a bit in it where one of her campaign aides is making very clear and cogent points to her as to how ‘16 is different than ‘08 and she just sort of cuts the conversation short so the two of ‘em can ride to an event in different cars and tells the guy they’ll continue later; there’s a bit where Tim Kaine sort of gleefully recounts how President Barack Obama told them there’s a fascist on the ballot; there’s a photograph of Bill Clinton in the 70s where he’s reading a copy of The Atlantic where the cover story is a work of fiction by my favourite author, I don’t know, I guess that one there is mostly just of interest to me), umm, let’s see, let’s see, I’ve watched some of The Wrong Mans, I really liked the first few seasons of UnREAL but I’m not sure I’ve seen it all the way to the end, oh Letterkenny, yeah, that’s my recommendation, final answer : Letterkenny. Give that a try if you haven’t seen it already.

    I hear good things about The Bear, though. Going to give The Bear a watch sometime.

  16. I watched the first few episodes of The Orville (‘17-?????) and gave up. Not funny! Less funny than its source material! Less funny than the episodes of Enterprise (‘01-’05) in which Seth MacFarlane cameoed!


    There was maybe one half-decent joke — there’s a bit where the crew sees a magnificent vista and Doctor Kassidy Yates earnestly quotes something from literature and Seth MacFarlane pretends like he knows it and faux-wisely responds with something like, “Ah yes, Shakespeare.” and she corrects him that, no, wait, I’m completely misremembering the details here’s a link — and just lots of really sloppy writing. They introduce the crew (in this comedy! it’s a comedy!) by just having Seth MacFarlane walk up to each character standing at attention individually in a line and having earnest one-on-one conversation with each one without any sort of crosstalk or commentary or interruption or jokes of any kind whatsoever!???? A character is established as having superstrength in the pilot and then there’s an episode where that character doubts themselves and struggles with who they are and yet there is no, literally no, allusions to the fact that this character has superstrength!??? Yeah, it’s been years since I’ve seen this stuff and I still remember these flaws, I’m gonna die mad about the little bits of dumbness in what little I’ve seen of Seth MacFarlane’s Star Trek parody show (I love a good Star Trek parody show! I love Hyperdrive (‘06-’07)! I love Other Space (‘15-’15)!) because that’s the way I am.


    I choose to believe that Seth MacFarlane is absolutely positively miserable making that show, though. I refuse to imagine a universe in which he’s happy. He was almost fourteen years old by the time TNG (‘87-’94) premiered! There’s no way he’s loving re-enacting it! That’d be like me loving re-enacting Enterprise! He’s a TOS (‘66-’69) guy! That’s what was on when he was a kid! That’s what he does all the impressions of! He wanted to make his Star Trek show but everyone he needs to make his Star Trek show is dead so he’s settled for making a copy of a copy of the Star Trek show he really wanted to do! There’s no way in his heart of hearts he wants to be Picard! He wants to be Kirk! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  17. I’ll try to clarify my opinions, man.


    Re: actual political praxis — My thing is that they seem to aiming straight for the absolutely smallest of ways to hold these people accountable instead of going big. They could’ve started out by declaring that they’re going to recommend to the Justice Department that they charge the former president of the united states and eleven other speakers at the rally with pretty much the same offenses they’re charging every other dumb dumb who went into the capitol building on January 6th, right!? The hearings could’ve been about laying out to the public why they’re doing that. Instead it’s about ... ??? ... the soul of the nation??? The future of democracy???


    Re: political spectacle — My thing isn’t about changing hearts, it isn’t about changing minds, it’s not about changing positions, my thing is that they’ve got to show the shit smeared on the walls of the capitol building. They’ve got to show the blood on the corpses. They’ve got to show the gravestones of everyone who died that day or died a few days later. That’s what I mean by substantially redefining the event itself. Something like six out of ten Americans think the president committed crimes so if they’re not going to go big and actually put the cuffs on him then they can at least make it brutally clear to the public imagination what the nature of that crime was.


    Re:historical record — For the hearings they conducted a lot of interviews, right!? I’m seeing excerpts of recordings of those interviews played during the hearings. I think the entirety of those interviews, soup to nuts, should be made available to the public, to the world at large, for the sake of history, for posterity itself. Because it’s the 2020s they can just put this stuff online, right!? They clearly have videos of these interviews! I’m seeing bits and pieces of these interviews and I want to see the rest! I want to read the transcripts of these interviews! That’s what having things be online has to do with the historical record, man! Historians have Internet too! They’ve got the same Internet I gots! I acknowledge that I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know if that is or isn’t strictly speaking legal. Maybe the reason we’re only seeing the relevant portions of what Bill Barr or whomever said under subpoena is because that’s the way it works. Maybe all that stuff will be released/published later. I don’t know! I’m speaking in ignorance here, on this and so much else!

  18. I’m watching bits and pieces but so far it all seems kind of ... scattershot????? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to be functioning well as actual political praxis (nobody important is facing charges!), it doesn’t seem to be functioning well as political spectacle (they’re not substantially redefining how the public sees the event itself!), it doesn’t seem to be functioning at all to provide what’s necessary for the historical record (forgive me, I’m not a lawyer, but shouldn’t every moment of every interview be online!?!?), what is it then!? What does it do? Who is it for? Probably better to do it than leave it undone, I suppose. It’d be odd if there weren’t hearings, y’know? It’d seem weird.

  19. Tough one! I’ve personally used Psalm 91:15 (“He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and bring him to honour.”) in a little mini-speech to mark the occasion of my grandfather’s death but I’m not necessarily sure the particular contexts which made it meaningful will automatically translate outside of the local circumstances. Umm, I’m thinking, I’m thinking ... oh wait, I see you’ve said that Psalms is already covered and you’re trying to cover the Old Testament now, oops, sorry... umm... okay, now I’m just looking through my browser history trying to find what bits and bobs of the Bible I’ve looked up recently (I Samuel 13:19, Song of Songs 2:13, Genesis 2:7, Deuteronomy 23:3, I Kings 11:3; nah, not sure these would really be fit to purpose) and coming up kind of empty.


    Huh. I don’t know. There’s Numbers 11:11-17 where Moses complains to God about how tough is to look after others (“I am not able to bear all this people myself alone, because it is too heavy for me.”) and God is all like, okay, man, I’ll find you some folks to help you out, here you go dude (“And I will come down and speak with thee there; and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.”).


    There’s Isaiah 53:10 (“Yet in whom the Lord delights, He oppresses them with disease; to see if their soul would offer itself in guilt, that he might see their children, lengthen their days, and that the desire of the Lord might prosper by their hand”, I’ve freely translated there a little, sorry) and Jeremiah 15:18 (“Why must my pain be endless? My wound incurable, resistant to healing? You have been to me like a spring that fails, like waters that can’t be relied on.”), probably too morbid, hmmm, I’m trying I’m trying, let’s see.


    Uhm. Isaiah 43:2 (“"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee") and Job 22:21 ("Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace, thereby shall thy increase be good")? Micah 4:6 (“On that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather the outcast, and those I have afflicted”)? II Samuel 22:29-30 (“For Thou art my lamp, O Lord; and the Lord doth lighten my darkness. For with Thee I run upon a troop; with my God do I scale a wall.”)? Jeremiah 29:11 (“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and hope.”)?


    I don’t know. Bibbling and bobbling through Sefaria Dot Com trying to find relevant verses kind of makes me feel like Matt Walsh’s character from Veep (‘12-’19) asking his phone why God allows suffering. Hope this helps!

  20. Mazel tov to the happy couple! I wish them every happiness well, not literally, some of the things that’d make them happy would make me unhappy. So, nope, like, for instance : I don’t want Donald Trump and JFK Jr. to become president in 2021 (resurrection and time travel!? I don’t know. I guess that footage is old??????) and I don’t want to find out how noted conservative James Woods is a part of the conspiracy to defraud the American public into believing that Joe Biden is alive!?!? How does that work??? He’s a Republican! James Woods is a Republican! Oh, wait, acting! He’s pretending to be a Republican the same way he’s pretending to be Joe Biden, the same way he pretended to be Sharon Stone’s boyfriend in Casino (1995). I guess he’s not actually her boyfriend. I guess he’s not actually a Republican. Stagecraft! Showmanship!

  21. My condolences. If there’s anything you need, anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to reach out. No idea what that might be and what I could realistically provide under this scenario but I’d like to emphasize that the previous sentence was not some pro forma statement but a genuine offer of any kind of help I can give — I don’t know, I could proofread a eulogy or whatever. I’m so sorry! I hope things will be better in the future.

  22. Saw the fifth and sixth episodes! No real complaints! I mean, I guess maybe the game of b-i-n-g-o has substantially changed by the time of the 23rd century but other than that, nope, rock solid episode. And, well, for the sixth episode, I kinda, wait, this is sort of a spoiler ...


    The episode really needed to end with some ponderous speeches between Pike and other crew members over the whole Omelas dilemma. Can’t just have him look out the window and take a sip of scotch while the music swells! It needs the speeches! Sure, we get a little bit of the speeches what with the Lindy Booth baddie making her case for it (not well enough, though, she shouldn’t be dunking on the Federation! She should be dunking on our society, in classic Trek fashion, she should be referencing the history of Earth!) but that’s too little too early for me.


    Still, all in all, pretty good! Got to give it up to them for doing a classic Trek show about the crew encountering an idyllic society only to uncover the evil underbelly! Barely even missed the Andorian guy this time around! Guess this is just the norm for SNW. I’m always going to be missing some of the crew for each and every episode! Oh well!


    Fifth episode in particular was a good episode for the guy they got playing Spock. In that one he plays Spock but he also plays a nightmare all-human version of Spock AND a nightmare all-Vulcan version of Spock AND he plays T’Pring’s consciousness in Spock’s body AND he also plays T’Pring’s consciousness in Spock’s body pretending to be Spock. Pretty fun episode for Gregory Peck’s kid!

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