Cheeseburger Gothic

The New Doctor

Posted October 9 into Telly by John Birmingham

I was going to watch the new Dr Who with my son last night but he got a better offer—some teen fangrrl, so it was a genuinely better offer. I ended up watching on my lonesome in the library and on an iPad rather than the TV.

I probably should've dragged my lazy arse down to the big teev. There were some nice shots and set pieces and they probably deserved the whole 55 inches.

Still, I loved it.

Confession time, I haven't really kept up with the rebooted Who. I found Christopher Ecclestone a bit of a git and by the time Tennant and Smith had done their turns, my unwatched stack o' shame was piled way too high. Having watched and enjoyed Jodie Whittaker's debut last night, I'm now thinking I should go back and catch up with the modern series.

The new lady Who was great TV. It paid homage the traditions of heritage and all the legacies of this and that, but Whittaker's Time Lord started afresh, having been stripped of the Tardis and sonic screwdriver and, initially at least, a coherent sense of self. Thankfully the identity confusion didn't go on too long—looking at you, Sylvester McCoy—and as the narrative stakes were raised the new Doctor confirmed that she does indeed make house calls and kick arse.

I didn't find the gender switch difficult, or even momentarily distracting. I dont know how Whittaker does it, but she managed to channel the animal spirits of all the Doctor's who went before her, while filling out a new character whose novelty was a lot less about gender than it was about personality.

I liked the companions. They were solidly grounded in the canon of everymen and -women who've travelled with the Doctor for decades, and it never ceases to impress me how the writers resolve all of the plots' questions and problems without resort to weaponry.

I wont discuss the plot because there is an element of mystery that'd be rooned by spoilers, but it was pretty classic Who.

Bottom line, I enjoyed it greatly.

6 Responses to ‘The New Doctor’

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted October 9
Dangerously encroaching on Girl Clumsy terf, she has already had a New Doctor tweet stolen.

I really enjoyed the show as well. I will save most of my wry observations for GC's recap but a meme I have seen has the new doctor next to the phrase.

'A bit of adrenaline, a dash of outrage and a hint of panic knitted my brain back together.

I know exactly who I am'.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted October 9
Where is she recapping?

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted October 9
I can't seem to provide the link here website https://www.nataliebochenski.com/

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 12
We have been watching in ebbs and flows over the years. The last doctor we have missed the most of so and seeing i have two girls it might be a good time to jump back in. But i missed the release because i was away on a junket and the eldest (13) has her black belt pre-grading this week. So its going to be sunday before we all get to sit down together to watch it! (We could do it after 8pm sometime before then but the youngest who is 10 has an over active imagination and prone to nightmares and . . . well . . . i'm kinda selfish and like my uninterrupted sleep more than getting my new doctor fix)

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Rob mumbles...

Posted Tuesday
I liked Doctor Who when they put in Martha Jones , then I went off it when they replaced her with Donna Nobel, who mugged up every scene at one point saying ' I laff u, doctor ' and I haven't been able to watch any since. I never got into the whole Billie Piper Bad wolf thingo either.

I do like the Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime, that is an utterly fascinating science fiction television series and its beautifully shot. Every scene looks like a million dollars. The lighting and film work makes it look like a feature film of yore, unlike a lot of new TV which look like super clean SLR shot HD video with a heavy emphasis on naturalistic (i.e dull) lighting. I really don't know when every director of photography decided that natural low key lighting realistic lighting was the way to go, but it certainly detracts from the idea of drama, surrealism, and art.

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted Tuesday
How is Jon Pertwee going these days? Still up to those Doctor hijinks?

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Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime

Posted September 3 into Telly by John Birmingham

It's always a surprise when the movie is better than the book. Then again, I suppose that's not surprising. You can pack so much more into a book that you can into an hour and a half, maybe two hours on-screen. The relationship between books and longform TV series bears this out. With a lot more time and space across twelve episodes, or even many years, shows like Game of Thrones or even True Blood (at least in its early seasons) don't feel cramped or rushed in the way that cinema adaptations sometimes can.
Most of the movies that came out of Tom Clancy's books work well, however. Perhaps the books were cinematic. Perhaps Clancy was more of a paint by numbers storyteller than most novelists. Whatever. It still feels weird that I've been so impressed with the 'adaptation' of Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime. I put the snarky quotes out there because the series isn't really an adaptation. It's not based on any of Clancy's books. It's more like James Bond of the Daniel Craig era, taking a well-known character and story world and simply applying the template to a new series of adventures.
I'll cut to the chase. It's really fucking good. Brilliant actually. Whether judged on its own merits or as an interpretation of Tom Clancy's original work, this TV series can stand up as one of the real grace notes of the current golden age of television.
It's better than Clancy. There, I said it.
I was a big fan of TCs novels when I was younger. I really admired, and I can still admire, the way he built his story engine. It was a powerful, stripped down piece of narrative engineering, and Clancy let it rip across a couple of books in particular which can be regarded not just as classics of the genre but as seminal works that actually created a genre.
Still, they had their problems. Tom was much better when writing about technology than he was when writing about people. In his later novels he simply couldn't stop himself preaching about politics. And the further he moved from his techno thriller roots into the realm of espionage writing, the worse it got for the reader.
But damn it, I did love those books. So I was more than happy to give this series a look.
Did I mention it was better than Clancy?
Partly I think this is due to the natural development and evolution of the storytelling art, especially on the small screen. As a culture we're just much better at this than we used to be. If this series had been made in the 1980s it would have been truly terrible. I doubt it would've got much better ten years later. But twenty years into the golden age and there are a lot of talented people with a lot of experience telling great stories on small screens working for the Beast of Bezos on this.
So, what's the premise?
Unsurprisingly the bad guys are beardy nutters. Pleasingly they are not just cardboard cutout Jihadi whack jobs. In fact the writers spend more time filling out the back story and explaining the very human motivations of the bin Laden-like character, Mousa Bin Suleiman, than they do on John Krasinski's young Jack Ryan.
Krasinski is great, by the way; arguably the most interesting and fully realised incarnation of this character so far. And he had some big shoes to fill given the names who've tried on the role before. But Ali Suliman as Mousa Bin Suleiman is uterly compelling. The writers and producers give his character real depth and breadth. He's not just some villain of the week.
Another casting win – Wendell Pierce as James Greer.

Pierce is one of my all-time favourite actors. If you know him it is probably as Bunk in The Wire, but he's done some amazing work in both movies and TV. Again, like Krasinski he had a hard act to follow, picking up the James Greer role from James Earl Jones who played the later career spy boss opposite Harrison Ford in the movies. This Greer is aggressive, foulmouthed and very much on the outer at the agency after screwing up badly on assignment in Pakistan. There is a further tweak to his story that I won't give away because it's unexpected enough to count as a pretty big spoiler, but it does testify to the producers having a real pair of cast iron story balls on 'em. You can read this series is something of an extended buddy movie starring Krasinski and Pierce. The actors work so well together that watching the evolution of their characters' relationship is as much fun as following the fast moving plot.
And it does move fast. The producers have really tuned up Tom's story engine, strapped on a couple of nitrous tanks, and lit that fucker up. The plot, which so far seems to be driven entirely by terrorists rather than Clancy's traditional enemies of Russia and China, flies along. The hour-long episodes are dense, but in a good way. There's is a lot happening here. A lot of action, a lot of character development, a lot of SPLOSIONS.
The splodey is excellent. There seems to be at least one kinetic set piece per episode, and lots of lesser opportunities for the writers to break things and hurt people.
I'm about six episodes in so far, about halfway through the season, and I don't see myself rationing the rest of the series to eke it out. I'm enjoying it too much. If you have access to Amazon Prime, you should check it out.

5 Responses to ‘Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime’

thetick would have you know...

Posted September 3
I watched the first three episodes of this yesterday on Prime, which I Wholly Did Not Intend To Do.

It's as you say, fucking great. Krasinski is pretty convincing as the Boston Irish Ryan and the villains of the piece are really, really well drawn.

And now if you'll excuse me, I need to go uh...watch another episode. Or three.

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Dirk mumbles...

Posted September 3
Hear, hear!

Excellent product right of the bat. Can stand up the comparison with The Bridge and The Fall. And series 2 is already in production.
PS while you are at it, can you UPS me either Abbie Cornish or
Dina Shihabi. Damn those two are bumped up the shortlist for the upcoming Bond flick.

If you haven't seen this, go, now, quickly, Yalla yalla!

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Oldy would have you know...

Posted September 3
I'm five episodes in, and I agree with every word you've written. Absolute love.

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Lobes mutters...

Posted September 5
I am halfway through and got to say it has exceeded my expectations. Not completely sold on Jim from The Office as the eponymous protagonist but hes competent enough that I can roll with it much as I did with the new Han Solo who filled the same shoes under similar circumstances.

Totally agree that the well created villains really make the story. You can understand and even feel some empathy for their circumstances without forgiving their actions.

It is interesting to note that much of the dialogue is not spoken in English. There is heavy reliance on subtitles for the many many scenes in French and Arabic. This is really helping me focus on and appreciate the show because I am forced to pay constant attention to the screen and not be distracted by the devilish black mirror in my pocket. Its not that I particularly need to check my phone for anything and the show is certainly good enough that I'm not bored but perhaps I'm now so indoctrinated (addicted) to checking my phone constantly that its become habitual rather than out of need. I really enjoyed Babylon Berlin (all in German) for similar reasons and Patriot (set largely in Luxembourg).

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon is gonna tell you...

Posted September 5
Groan. My wallet is going to hurt if i sign up to another one. In ten years time there are going to be back alley fights with different gangs wearing head/armbands with Netflix, Prime, Stan, (Disney?) et al on them aren't there? Homemade nunchuks, chains and steel capped boots.

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Sweep the leg!

Posted May 3 into Telly by John Birmingham

I can't believe I'm thinking of getting a Youtube Red subscription just to watch this series. But I totally am. It looks great. Like, way better than you'd imagine for a reboot of this franchise. And for anything from el Goog.

4 Responses to ‘Sweep the leg!’

Dave W mumbles...

Posted May 4
It looks hilariously awesomeful. I don't know if I'd pay for this many cliches in one package, but I know I'd watch it.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 4
bahaha. This was made on the back of this wasn't it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_Gz_iTuRMM

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Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted May 7
We've seen the OG Karate Kid, the remake version AND The Next Karate Kid on the teev these last few weeks....now I'm considering the subscription just to see this! 'Awsomeful' seems appropriate!

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Leftarc puts forth...

Posted May 11
And sweep it again. Its been renewed for Season 2.

http://www.darkhorizons.com/cobra-kai-renewed-for-season-two/

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Lost In Space remake. First thoughts

Posted April 16 into Telly by John Birmingham

I used to watch Lost in Space every day after school. It was on after Gilligan's Island and before Hogan's Heroes. I loved it.

Naturally I jumped right into the Netflix reboot as soon as it dropped. I'll cut to my take now; I enjoyed it hugely. But I can already see there are some who don't.

Over on the Book of Face, Cam Rogers, elbowed his way through all the Russian trolls and adverts for colostomy bags (I told the Zuck I was born in 1901) to lay the following smackdown on the reboot:

What is it with so many current generation TV shows being populated with characters I don't want to spend five minutes with?
The Lost In Space reboot: flat scenes, irritating characters you wanna see die ASAP, minimal sets and locations, boilerplate structure, hacky as fuck, the Dad is yet another stoic soldier-as-father-figure agitprop cliche, the kids are entitled and self-aborbed brats, boring, or talk like a middle-aged LA writer - all without telling us anything about them *at all*.
Just die already.

Ok. Thanks Cam. I can see you have issues. And some of them are even nudging legit. The structural critique is spot on, but so what? It's like trashing an old Saturday matinee pirate movie for inadequate consideration of inequities in the maritime labour market which predisposed underclass workers to unauthorised redistributive tactics.

It's Lost in Space, not Twin Peaks, or even Battlestar Galactica 2.0. The teenaged characters are indeed often self absorbed and bratty, which just makes them very accurate portrayals of teenagers.

Toby Stephens' John Robinson is totally another stoic soldier-as-father-figure, but there's not much agitprop there. He's a much deeper and well realised character than Guy William's jump-suited Mike Brady Brand hunk of beef. The pilot dips its toe into cliche, with some early family flashbacks to happier days, and then it all turns to shit, much more interesting shit, as Stephen's absent marine loses contact with his family, and then almost loses the family altogether.

I have no probs with the sets or scenery. I used to build out my own imaginary Jupiter 2 in a cubby house in our back yard as a kid, and if I had a couple of million bucks to reimagine it today, it'd look pretty close to the Netflix version. I'm only three eps into the series, so I don't know where they'll end up in future story arcs, but given the restrictions of actually filming on Earth, I thought the mash-up of Hoth and every bucolic Stargate forest planet ever was a pretty reasonable start.

Parker Posey's Dr Smith is a fantastic gender swap, and she's so far done a great job of making her Smith every bit as creepy and villainous as Jonathon Harris's character was campy and ridiculous. The original Smith was a pantomime villain. Posey is way more dangerous.

Each episode appears to pose one major problem for the colonists to solve, within a larger meta narrative, and I'm cool with that. I've enjoyed it so much so far that I'm having to stop myself rushing through the whole series in one or two sittings. Instead i'll probably do a slow binge. One ep a night until I'm done.

20 Responses to ‘Lost In Space remake. First thoughts’

Bangar reckons...

Posted April 16
I've only watched the first ep, I'm willing to give it a go, Anyone else pick up the cameo?

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted April 16
Caught the first episode, really enjoyed it, the family dynamic felt very contemporary. (Which it never did in the original) The intro of 'Dr Smith' and I think Major West at the end of the episode was wonderful. Bangar I spotted Lennier from Babylon 5 if that's what you mean.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted April 16
I think the Don West character is going to be much ore interesting than the original.

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Bangar reckons...

Posted April 16
Well done sir

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted April 16
I never would have got that.

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Bondiboy66 has opinions thus...

Posted April 16
I don't have netflix...but my folks do. I might be paying a visit to have a look at this. Heaven knows that I was a HUGE Irwin Allen fan as a kid - Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants and of course the best was Lost in Space! I do hope they do the show justice. Do they get to fit a few Jonathan Harris alliterative lines in giving the robot a rev up - 'bumbling booby' and the like?

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WA n'ker mumbles...

Posted April 16
I like your take on the bratty teenagers being teenagers.
Reminds me of some critisicms of annakin in ep 2 and 3. I mean if i was a 13-16 yr old who had full on jedi powers and a big boner for the delectable padme, what do you reckon would happen?

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insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted April 16
I used to watch it as a kid too but I doubt I'll get a look in with the anti science fiction vibe going on in the TV/Netflix environment in the household. Makes Toned Abs look like Professor Poindexter.

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted April 17
Original Lost in Space is a Rhino fave.

Have watched the first 2. Am also slow binging.

Am suspending disbelief on wonky science ... and economic disbelief around building individual spaceships for colonist families (as opposed to prefab shelters that could be dropped, etc.).

Love me some Parker Posey.

This is provisionally Rhino Approved.

My main quibble is that I’m dying to hear the opening theme.



FormerlyKnownAsSimon is gonna tell you...

Posted April 20
The opening theme gets a look in. Maybe ep3? I'm liking it. In my household i need an escape from the dearth of crime/murder mystery eps

FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted May 2
Just to revive this thread: after bingeing it myself and finding it good i sat down and gave it another run with the kids. They love it (as kids used to love the original). So it gets 5 stars from me.

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jl mutters...

Posted April 17
As a kid I never knew hate until I watched Lost in Space and met Doctor Smith.

I really need to step into the 21st century and get Netflix. Altered Carbon is on my list, too.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted April 17
Hiya mates. It's been a while.

Didn't love it. Wanted dreck transformed into the best science fiction television I've ever seen, and that didn't happen.

This was not an unreasonable expectation considering the results of Altered Carbon and Jessica Jones. Netflix knows how to mine original content to make gold.

But I liked it a lot, for many of the same reasons thus far articulated. The update characters - including the Robot - and the expanded story free of ultra low budget considerations are all big fun. The first time the Robot said "danger Will Robinson" was thrilling. And although the \"bricks\" of touchy-feely dialogue are annoying, that is what the fast forward button on the remote is for. I look forward to the next season.

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Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted April 17
God forbid we have a soldier protagonist.

jl reckons...

Posted April 17
Yeah, can't have that.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted April 17
Yeah, I'm not sure how Rogers got the agit-prop message. This John Robinson is a mess. There's a real cost to his service.

Vovchara mumbles...

Posted May 4
Oh no, we can't have military protagonists on TV or in the Movies. And if we have some, we better make a mess of the rank structure and they better do not wear uniforms (hello Star Wars The Last Jedi).

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 17
POSTING FOR HAVOCK (WHO'S BOSS TOOK AWAY HIS COMPUTER AND XBOX PRIVILEGES):

Issues with him being an ex soldier / Marine / Jarhead returned serviuceman fkn been in the shit....OH FKN PLEEEEEAS!

What other backstory character fkn issues do you lot fkn have. I guess we could have made him a fkn woman, or transfkn genedr and more fkn PC post world fkn ending nothappy about character fkn developement instead of just fkn immersing yourself in the fkn show and the moment and having a bit of fkn fun. FKN ANT FKN FUN FK POLIC EFK ME!

Its great....and I've got a fkn thing for Mrs Robinson toooo and the fkn song and yeah shes in the HOUSE OF FKN CARDS WE SHOULD AHVE KEPT KEIN ON. FK...FK FK FK AND DOUBLE FKN FK!

insomniac mutters...

Posted April 17
I wish the Havock of old would make a comeback. This mild mannered muppet is FKN soft.

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Vovchara mutters...

Posted May 4
I was writing a measured response to this thread, but after reading havock's stream of consciousness I decided to forgo this attempt and say exactly what I am thinking. Here comes...
WTF wrong with you people? How can JB whose works are always a delightful mix of entertainment and common sense could find this piece of crap interesting? This stuff is so antiquated it hurts. All plot points have been done to death in the past. There is nothing original here, nothing thought out.
WTF is with all those plot conveniences? Water freezing right when it most inconvinient, a freaking space ship flooding despite an airlock which normally would not allow keeping both hutches open, so no flooding a hermetically sealed container which any freaking spaceship is.
WTF with Zero-G in the first scene during the deorbiting burn? In the times when "The Expanse" is paying attention to small things like Coriolis forces, the morons writing "Lost in Space" don't even understand simple Newton's laws.
WTF with a crash? They went into space expecting to land somewhere, right?

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Altered Carbon

Posted February 23 into Telly by John Birmingham

I finished my slow binge of Altered Carbon on Netflix this week. Loved it. I loved the book to when I read it over a decade ago, but that was so long that apart from one or two standout scenes (the concealed mini guns in the hotel, for instance) I had pretty much forgotten everything. It wasn't a bad way to go into the series.

I'm not sure how faithful the producers were to a black letter adaptation of Richard Morgan's original text, and frankly I don't think it matters. This was a powerful piece of cinematic storytelling, a rich combination of science-fiction and old school film noir.

The central conceit of the story is the encoding of human memory, a process which allows those who can afford it to live forever. I do seem to recall that the novel did investigate the social and political implications of the technology, the way that the super rich effectively claimed immortality for themselves, becoming ever less human the longer they lived. But I'm pretty sure the makers of the TV show really leaned into the idea with a lot more vigour. Altered Carbon was a much better forensic analysis of the consequences of a super concentration of wealth in a sci-fi setting than, say, Matt Damon's Elysium. It was violent, stylish (with a lot of visial callbacks to the original Blade Runner), thoughtful and, most importantly of all, just great fun.

No sooner had I finished the last episode than I looked up to discover that Amazon had announced they would be doing their own adaptation of Iain M Banks Culture novel, Consider Phlebus. I am almost as excited for that as I am for a second series of Carbon. It feels like we might be living through a new golden age of sci-fi, at least on the small screen.

15 Responses to ‘Altered Carbon’

Bangar mutters...

Posted February 23
And in other Sci Fi new transparent Aluminum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaYt62_osYA

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damian would have you know...

Posted February 23
This may be the thing that leads me to get Netflix. I started re-reading the series back in December when Morgan tweeted about the trailer. I interleave my reading these days -- it's what I switch to for warming down whenever I'm sick of the 10 or so textbooks I'm reading otherwise -- so I've just now finished Broken Angels and I'm about to start Woken Furies.

I've generally been much more a fan of your Chandler style hard-boiled noirish detective fiction than I have been of milfic (present company excepted of course). Grossman's Life and Fate, and anything by Heinrich Böll are standouts, too. I really enjoyed James Crumley's two detectives, both sort of halfway in between, both sort of soulmates of the Takeshi Kovacs I get from Morgan's novels. Mexican Tree Duck in particular does this sort of straddling of noir and milfic with enough flourish to be literary, if you squint your eyes a little.

Anyway the interesting and curious thing is that of the three novels Morgan wrote in the Kovacs series, I found I liked then in ascending order: Altered Carbon least, though I did like it a lot, and Woken Furies the most. Even though there's little trace of noir by that stage.

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jl puts forth...

Posted February 23
Altered Carbon: One of my all time favs. Must see series.

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Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted February 24
It couldn't be Al Reynolds or Neal Asher.

It had to be this asshole.

Sheesh.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted February 25
Yep, Amazon releases a Culture series, that's the final tipping point that has me signing up for Amazon Prime. They almost had me with the live-action Tick, and I would like to see their series. 'The Man in the High Castle'. But there are so many streaming services now.

Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted February 25
Watch Luke Cage.

Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted March 3
The same guy who played Alexander Hamilton in the HBO miniseries John Adams.

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sibeen would have you know...

Posted February 25
And how has Mr Morgan ticked you off, Murph?

Loved teh book and binged on the series. Grouse. Even SWMBO enjoyed it and she's not normally a fan of anything to do with sci-fi.

Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted February 25
A long, old story that really isn't worth investing time in. Needless to say, never bought a stitch of his work, not planning on watching the show.

I'll wait for the Banks project and see if that is actually worth watching. Surely has to be better than The Expanse.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted February 28
Started on this. Not too bad but i get a feel of daytime soap when i'm watching it. The main actor (had to look him up - Joel Kinnaman) seems a bit too clean cut or . . . . something. Not really gelling with me but going to hang in there for the rest. Haven't read the book.

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she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 2
I really loved this; I'd planned on watching an episode a week amongst all the other shows I have on the go at the moment and just gave up and binged it. I'm going to Singapore for the weekend and I've downloaded it to my Netflix app on my tablet to re-watch on the plane. I'm also reading the first book as too much Carbon is not enough :)

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jl would have you know...

Posted April 20
Finally pulled the trigger and got Netflix. The very first thing I sat down and watched was Altered Carbon. Burned through nearly entire first season today.

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jason asserts...

Posted April 20
To both JL and JB. Less watching Netflix more writing. I am seriously struggling for a good read.

jl ducks in to say...

Posted April 20
Fortunately there are only so many episodes of Altered Carbon.

jl would have you know...

Posted April 21
...And, I just finished them all. That series was very good, although it did deviate from the book somewhat. And there is nothing cooler than a finale with swords, or Ortega taking her revenge. Excellent.

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Travelers, a thing I like.

Posted January 16 into Telly by John Birmingham

There are some shows on the streamz that I have to take a sip at a time. Ozark, Breaking Bad, even Daredevil. There’s an intensity to them that precludes consuming the series in a long binge.

Travelers is the opposite. I have to stop myself watching back to back episodes so that I don’t rush through an entire season and find myself enraged that there’s no more to be had.

It’s on Netflix in Oz, so not everyone will have seen it, but for me it’s one of those shows that makes subscription TV worth the money. This is the sort of show that would've run on the Ten Network when it was cool. And they’d have destroyed it with ads and schedule changes and getting a couple of eps out of order because that’s how they roll.

The premise is cool. Time travelers are sent back from a doomed future to change the past. But they can’t return in corporeal form, only their minds can make the journey – into the host bodies of people already living here in the 21st century. (Or simply The 21st, as it’s known in the show). The transfer overwrites the original mind, effectively killing the host. Travelers are thus inserted into hosts who are about to die before their time.

It’s a neat narrative ploy which unfolds into ever more complicated origami forms of story telling as the show goes on. Characters can be ‘killed’ simply by overwrite. It’s a great screen writer trick.

Eric McCormack (Will, in Will and Grace) leads the ensemble cast of travelers in his team, and does a great job. I never watched W&G so I had no trouble imagining him into the role of a very straight FBI agent—his relationship with his wife after overwriting is a key driver of the series. The other cast members fill out a Joss Whedon-style ‘band of five’ and every episode sees them even some new mission by The Director, to save the future.

It sounds dumb, and it is magnificently, compellingly, addictively dumb and enormous fun because of it. Season One was a good set up. Season Two is much stronger, with real character development inside the team, a solid meta-narrative setting up a worthy nemesis within the mythology of the series, and lots of splodey goodness.

There’s always lots of splodey goodness.

I only have a couple of eps left and I’m already feeling pre-emptive withdrawal.

9 Responses to ‘Travelers, a thing I like.’

insomniac would have you know...

Posted January 17
It's on my list but I'll never get to it because some people in the house have an aversion to anything 'time travel'.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted January 17
Overwrite them.

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 18
What house are you in, is it the chinese government?

insomniac mumbles...

Posted January 19
Those lotus leaves? If only.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted January 18
I am really enjoying Travellers looking forward to your thoughts after you watch the final espisode of season 2. So far the haven't confirmed a season 3 yet. Manly because I think they like to see me suffer.

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Vovchara is gonna tell you...

Posted January 20
Travelers is truly remarkable. Avoiding all usual cliches of timetravel. Suspenseful and very human.

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Oldy reckons...

Posted January 22
This is absolutely my favourite thing on TV (is it still TV if it's Netflix?) I love the characters and the group dynamic, and yes - the second season kicks the show into the stratosphere.

It would be my second favourite thing, except they cancelled Sense8.

I'm not surprised you like it, it's got a lot of the same qualities I go to the Birmoverse for. Time Travel, alternate What If stuff, and cool characters who talk to each other like real people.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted January 24
they are doing an end movie for sense8 - there was so much backlash they decided to round off the story line in a movie . . . that hasn't changed has it?

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted January 24
Nope. Still happening.

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