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Sense8: Renewed and Reviewed

Posted August 10, 2015 into Telly by John Birmingham

Netflix has renewed Sense8 for a second season, and this is a great thing. S1 encompassed a comprehensive origin story with a satisfying climax and denouement, but as with all great stories peopled with interesting characters, it left me wanting to know What Happened Next.

For those who haven't watched the series, a very brief, hopefully spoiler-free recap; eight people, four men and four women, scattered around the world, experience an unusually intense vision of a woman's death. Intense enough to perhaps be a moment of psychosis, especially given what follows, more visions and waking dreams of a seemingly shared consciousness between all eight. Oh, and pursuit by a well resourced cabal of government and corporate villains intent on exterminating them all. Huzzah!

But why? Why would well resourced cabal of government and corporate villains be intent on exterminating them all? Well, they are sensates. An evolutionary throwback to a period when human beings were connected to each other with close psychic bonds. In the mythology of the series, Homo sapiens proved a more ruthlessly effective and efficient successor population because, lacking any sense of shared empathy with their fellow creatures, they were much better at killing them. And we can’t have the world being taken over buy a lot of feely, squishy nonlethal sensate types now, can we? So, lets kill ‘em all. It’s a bit like X-Men, without the lycra.

Sensates exist in clusters, which can number anywhere from 2 to 12 individuals. The eight characters we meet in series one are a diverse crew of mixed race, gender, even transgender, sexuality and skill set. In narrative terms, it's probably the skill sets which are most important. A cop, an actor, a criminal, a scientist, a hacker, a female banker turned cage fighter, and so on. They eventually have a full suite of Matrix style awesome to call on.

But a lot of the critical reception to Sense8, and a lot of the hand wringing over its apparent lack of popularity, focused on the diversity of the cast. It's not just white males and their quirky/sexy female offsiders. If you search up critiques of the series you'll read a lot of essays about identity politics and how the decisions of the producers – the Wachowski siblings and Babylon 5's J. Michael Straczynski – alienated the mass audience by focusing in on minority characters. The transgender woman. The gay South American actor. The African bus driver. The Indian bride.

Nope.

I don't think so.

We getting into subjective territory now, but I didn't come to love this series because of or in spite of the diverse cast. I grew to love Sense8 because it’s fantastic story telling. The cast were great, and their stories do grow on you. But they take at least three or four episodes to connect. The producers have even been quoted as describing the first couple of eps as 'preludes'. For a series which races through its later story arcs with bursts of violent kinetic energy, not much happens in the first couple of hours of Sense8. Or rather, not much seems to happen. Understandably a lot of the cast sit around wondering, "What’s happening to me?"

Instead of getting straight to the car chases and violence we do a deep dive into the emotional lives of our eight psychics. The struggles of Capheus in Nigeria to secure drugs to help treat his mother's AIDS infection. The unexplained bereavement of Riley Blue, a DJ from Iceland living in London and apparently trying to forget some personal trauma. The tragicomic shenanigans of Lito Rodriguez a deeply closeted Mexican actor trying to maintain a secret relationship with his gay lover while living a public life as a macho action movie hero.

These are stories which can take a while to get into, but the payoff is that once character development gives way to narrative acceleration and that whole secret gov-corp anti-Sense8 conspiracy thing, we care more deeply about these individuals than would otherwise be the case.

I truly believe that Sense8’s problems stem not from difficult issues of identity, but simple pacing in those opening episodes.

Perhaps with Series 2, having dispensed with the origin story and the emotional architecture, the producers will carry the show forward at a much greater speed, but without sacrificing empathy and depth.

It’s worth a Netflix subscription just to binge this one.

13 Responses to ‘Sense8: Renewed and Reviewed’

BrianC would have you know...

Posted August 10, 2015
Some minor spoilers here within.

Look.

I loved this cast and the concept. But I have to disagree in terms of the story. I found it lacking and in search of cohesion. Especially for the first 5 or so episodes. There where some massive plot holes. Like why didnt the multinational super powerful government agency think to look in her apartment for her? Why didn't her parents. How does the guy living in mexico not get that the girls ex is a f'ing gangster?

There are some wonderful moments that i wont spoil and over all this is definitely a show worth watching, i just hope we get more story and less concept next time.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted August 10, 2015
I don't think it lacked cohesion as such. It was more of a pointillist canvas than a straight line narrative.

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Anthony is gonna tell you...

Posted August 10, 2015
Agree with BrianC. It needs to move along a bit with the actual story line but worth watching.
And on another note - anyone else found this?
<font size="2">

http://www.history.co.uk/shows/the-great-martian-war

Beautifully put together from WWI footage, CGI and some re-enactment it's commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Martian invasion of 1914.


http://vimeo.com/107454954

</font>


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Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted August 10, 2015
Why not just get to the point and trickle feed the season one material as backstory?

We writers do that all the time.

I don't know how many times I've been hammered by editors who pretty much say, "For fuck's sakes, Murphy! Get the fuck on with it."

That said, if it fails, it'll be chalked up to the usual laundry list of ists, isms, and phobias to which the rest of us are perpetually privileged to be guilty of from the moment we left the womb.

Good times.

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted August 10, 2015
This sort of thing wouldn't happen if they attended the John Birmingham Academy of FKN AWSM writing and plot development where if there isn't an explosion in the first few paragraphs, it's because there is a tension build up to the explosion that's going to narrativley upper cut you in the next few paragraphs.


John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted August 10, 2015
You're right, of course. But it seemed churlish to say so.

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted August 10, 2015
Damn, in the middle of cooking dinner prior to the_weapons training so I don't have enough time to talk about why I thought Sense8 was awesome. But I watched it twice and on the second viewing realised my 'problem' with the early episode narrative was exactly that My Problem, due to what I expected in a series instead of watching it without that expectation.
Brilliant stuff and very pleased it got a second series.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 10, 2015
yeah, having written this today I've been thinking a second viewing might be in order too. I rarely do that but expect to get even more out of it the second time around.

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Gethbox ducks in to say...

Posted August 10, 2015
Largely agree that it was great, but I suspect a fair number of detractors quit early on because the first episode was such tiresome hackneyed tripe.It's kinda interesting, given how much praise was heaped on the series for normalising "otherness" (gender, race, sexuality, etc) that is usually so exoticised in mass-consumption screen stuff, that the first episode played like a showcase of cliche and stereotyping.Still, it came good pretty quickly. I'll be back for season 2...

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GhostSwirv mutters...

Posted August 11, 2015

I've seen some of the criticism of Sense8, wondered what the fuss was about - both good and bad, Netflix is on the list of things to connect to.

This thread has piqued my interest in giving the story a go and its great that a second series has been greenlit.

Sad though that in an age where we're able to access any content across any platform real storytelling isn't allowed time to breath and develop ... would our Seinfeld's and other shows that took a few seasons to find their groove be given a go now?

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Maudy mumbles...

Posted August 11, 2015
I will be all over Series 2. I didn't think I loved it when I was watching it, but afterward, I was all "oh, I wonder what happened next". That only happens when I really did love a show. The diversity was cool, ok - some of the tropes were a bit obvious, but the characters were interesting and their back stories were cool as well, even if nothing seemed to really be happening!

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Rhino reckons...

Posted August 12, 2015
Damn ... now I have to binge watch this too.
There is too much media ... don't have time for all of this. I need to focus on the priority faffing.

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2015
Wow! I just finished this first series. I tend to lose interest with TV serials, but this appealed to me very much. It really pushed my buttons. Great story telling and depth of character and alarm and delight.

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I do not approve of this Star Trek Shania Twain mash up

Posted August 3, 2015 into Telly by John Birmingham

I have not approved of it the seven times I've watched it.

5 Responses to ‘I do not approve of this Star Trek Shania Twain mash up’

FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted August 3, 2015
Gah! what is this abomination to all things holy? The only star trek mashup worth mentioning was that one on youboob with Bill Shatner doing Pulp's Common People masterfully put to ST footage. Was it on here i saw that? either way, a link to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI3UfxyIdgs

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TheWah reckons...

Posted August 3, 2015
Shania and Star Trek... never the twain shall meet...
In all honesty I found it really well done

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Sparty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2015
its a depressing Monday Morning at work- and THAT brought a smile to my face.

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ChrisB mumbles...

Posted August 4, 2015
At least I have the remaining 6 episodes of ST:Voyager to cleanse my brain...

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted August 4, 2015
and in other TOS news actor Nichelle Nichols will fly on a NASA mission on SOFIA. Yes I realize its just outreach, but for those who say that don't realize how much science has to struggle constantly for funding, despite all the evidence that it provides a return.

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Firefly/Serenity

Posted June 30, 2015 into Telly by John Birmingham

A couple years ago – to be truthful, probably a whole passle o' years ago now – I bought me the DVD of Joss Whedon’s Firefly. There was only one series made before it was shit-canned by Fox and I’d wanted to watch it when it first went to air. Whedon’s first outing post Buffy/Angel and spaced based sci-fi western to boot. What’s not to love?

The ratings, apparently.

That disc sat in my pile o’ shame for years, however, and it sits there still. Unopened. I was waiting for Jane to watch it with me, but gave up and caught the whole series on Netflix recently, finishing up with Serenity on the weekend. The step up in production values from TV to cinema was obvious, and very obviously established by Whedon in a cheeky tracking shot early in the film which flows through the entire body of the ship. Not a point of view you ever saw on the television show which made do with much more modest sets.

Bottom line. I came to love this series and would have happily paid good folding money to watch more. I enjoyed the transference of the Old West myths to an interplanetary canvas and did’t have to work too hard to suspend my disbelief at the idea that frontier cultural forms would reappear on this new frontier.

The framing of the wider narrative promised an expansive story world to explore over years, rather than the fourteen episodes Lord Rupert left us with. On the upside, the film was a fitting send off to a great concept. iO9 ran a long extract from a bio of Whedon, which devoted a chapter to Firefly. The extract came with some interesting background deets I didn’t know of. The series was apparently inspired by a Pulitzer Prize winning historical novel of the American Civil War, The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. Whedon read it while on holiday in London and was taken by the minutiae of detail Shaara crammed into the work.

The director said he "wanted to play with that classic notion of the frontier. Not the people who made history, but the people history stepped on—the people for whom every act is the creation of civilization.” Firefly/Serenity is not the story of Jedi Council or the Federation’s celebrity starship captains, he said. It’s the story of the guys who cleaned out the trash compactor on the Death Star. Or the redshirts who jumped ship to escape their inevitable and anonymous fate as Klingon disruptor fodder.

There’s been a lot written about the debt it owes to John Ford’s Stage Coach, with some characters making the hyper space jump from old West to new almost intact. They’re archetypes too. however, with familiar character traits from Buffy, and possibly even the Avengers, finding fresh purchase here.


From i09:

Firefly's cast of characters is filled with the archetypes that pop up in much of Joss's work: the loner with a distinct sense of justice, although his sense of right and wrong may not mesh with society's; the stalwart and dependable comrade, who may question the hero but will always have his back; the stuffy, book-learned one who finds that real life often does not adhere to the facts he was taught; the one with faith, who has left an organized group but still works to apply its tenets for the benefit of those around him; the mercenary who's always up for a fight; the confident one who is often just trying to get through the day in the most pleasant way possible; the well-trained one whose strength is not fully understood until she is pushed; and, of course, the young woman coming to terms with her new power and the responsibility that it entails.

The movie, Serenity, could be enjoyed without investing a dozen or so hours in the TV series, but you’d find it a much richer experience for that first investment. I don’t know whether Whedon was always heading towards the resolution he laid out on the big screen, especially as regards the origin of the Reavers, who do sterling narrative duty as space zombies. Fast space zombies. Given the lack of telegraphing I doubt it.


I won’t give away any spoilers in case there are other slackers, like me, who’ve gone the better part of decade without catching this series. But if you haven’t, and you’re inclined to sample Netflix’s free trial period, you could do worse than spend a wet weekend on the High Frontier with Captain Mal Reynolds.

33 Responses to ‘Firefly/Serenity’

Spanner has opinions thus...

Posted June 30, 2015
I loved Firefly. I've watched the series several times. It's one I can go back to over an over again. The crew of the Serenity are a bit like Easy company from Band of Brothers or crew of the rebooted Galactica in that I care about them. Yeah I get that in Serenity and even Galactica there are tropes and that Easy was real people.
Do the characters carry the narative?
In Firefly and Galactica they certainly do.
*puts on thinking hat and goes to think some more.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted June 30, 2015
Serenity is high in my top ten bet films of all time.

NBlob reckons...

Posted June 30, 2015
I don't remember a bet?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 30, 2015
Bet = best

Fucking jet lag.

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beeso puts forth...

Posted June 30, 2015
Pretty sure the Netflix listing is the TV one which is out of order. So watch them in this order if you do use the streamSerenity (parts 1 & 2)

beeso swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 30, 2015
I will modify that. If you might be an early adopter and using the US version of Netflix you will get this problem. Oz has the DVD version it seems.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 30, 2015
Unfortunately, if you actually know anything about the American Civil War then trying to watch Firefly is akin to a brigade of cats clawing away at a chalkboard.

It is the show I wanted to like, but man, I just can't. In fact, Whedon's only offerings to date that I have been able to sort of buy has been his Avengers outings.

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Aaron ducks in to say...

Posted June 30, 2015
I watched serenity first having heard about firefly. Great stand alone flick and better when paired with the show. I wish they would open up the universe as it had so much more light and shade to offer. The current trend of dark and even darker we seeIn game if thrones and walking dead is getting too much. Theoriginal cast was great but why not relaunch with new faces the right age.

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Peter Bradley has opinions thus...

Posted June 30, 2015
Not having a historical perspective to it I just watched it for what it was when it came out. Engaging and at times a little bit thinky but like Buffy there were some great one liners;
Kaylee - "ain't nothin' touched my nethers for a year that weren't battery run
Jayne - "I'll be in my bunk"
Wash - " I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar"

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Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted June 30, 2015
I was late to the series, having finally watched it last year, and loved it! I have Serenity sitting on my hard drive half watched...I got interrupted and haven't finished it. That was definitely a show with promise, and a great shame it got canned by bean counters. My wife was quite a fan of Castle there for a while...they managed to toss the odd Firefly reference into that show too!

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TheWah ducks in to say...

Posted June 30, 2015
Has anybody watched the new series "Dark Matter"? I get the feeling they are trying to capture the Firefly vibe. Firefly mixed with Farscape.Not as good as either, imo

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted June 30, 2015
Thanks ComicBook Guy.

TheWah ducks in to say...

Posted June 30, 2015
We can't all have your "Ten years past the zeitgeist" level of cool. :)

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 30, 2015
No. No you cannot.

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coriolisdave swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 30, 2015
I've also heard not-great things about Dark Matter, but a similar show that's just kicked off is "Killjoys" - I get a similar firefly vibe from it, remains to be seen if they can keep it up

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted June 30, 2015

Watched it often, and even to this day if I turn on the TV and Serenity is on I'll watch it again.

In one of the pieces I read Whedon said TV is about questions where as movies are about answers. Never was that more clear than that the differences in the stories between the series and the movie particularly regarding the Reavers.

Zoe's "She's torn up plenty, but she'll fly true" still brings a tear to my eye.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted June 30, 2015
I really do love this film. There are many really great lines and bits of dialogue. But for me the best is what Joss Whedon describes as Mal's “St Crispin's Day speech”:

"Y'all got on this boat for different reasons, but y'all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything, I know this - they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave."

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted July 1, 2015

and the delivery. Nathan Fillion either has a natural rhythm or he was directed by Whedon but that speech.

swing back to the belief that they can make people... better.

that beat between people and better, conveyed so much


Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted July 2, 2015
My wife and I discuss that kind of thing all the time. A good actor makes good choices. A great actor makes the perfect choice. I think the pause you describe was a perfect choice.

GhostSwirv is gonna tell you...

Posted July 2, 2015

Nathan Fillion is a fine actor and his range of dramatic delivery is typical of many North American actors.

Writing and direction is key ... the clearest difference between entertainment media content of the USA, UK and Oz is how the Americans deliver the dramatic world of the story, particularly in TV, it might be overly melodramatic at times - but more often than not it serves the dramatic intent and heart of the story, ... mostly a considered beat is all it takes.


Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted July 2, 2015
Thank you for recognizing that. The world loves to slam American media by focusing in on its worst examples. Much of it is excellent by any standard.

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Surtac asserts...

Posted June 30, 2015

Yeah. Have to admit that Serenity is definitely one of my all-time favourite movies and I rewatch it often -- it has got to the point where I've found myself quoting its' dialogue in seemingly (to me) appropriate situations both at work and home.

So it goes.

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nhamilton@iinet.net.au swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 30, 2015
Watched it years ago with my daughter. It now comes out every school holidays along with Lord of the Rings trilogy and Veronica Mars series when she wants to lie around and watch movies. High praise indeed.

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GhostSwirv asserts...

Posted June 30, 2015
I love Firefly and Serenity ... I've owned and watched the DVDs since they were first released, over and over again.

Captain Mal is up there in my opinion almost on the same level with Captain Kirk, and like PNB I feel that ... "I aim to misbehave" is one of the best inspirational speeches I've ever heard, I'd sign on in a heartbeat.

It's as good as ... "I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you".

If ever a show needed a rebirth, reboot its Firefly - plenty would have happened to the crew of Serenity since we last flew with them and I'd love to journey with Mal once more.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 1, 2015
I am informed by confidential sources that part of the discussions surrounding the film involved the original cast's concerns about the film inspiring a reboot of the series - something many of the original cast wanted to avoid. If the series comes back - which I personally would welcome - it would be with different cast set in the same universe.

Blake ducks in to say...

Posted July 1, 2015
I am not much of a twitter user, but i do follow Nathan Fillion - the interplay between he and William Shatner is pretty cool. The fictional likeness you mentioned crosses over into a real life one with the way in which the communities sprung up around them, and their canadian heritage etc

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David Bofinger mumbles...

Posted June 30, 2015
I know fans scream at George RR Martin when he does anything other than finish their series. I guess John Birmingham needs to have a similar work ethic. But leaving Firefly on the shelf for ten years is amazingly dedicated and I salute you for it.

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Steve reckons...

Posted June 30, 2015
Fun fact: Serenity makes an appearance in the first episode of Galactica. There's a scene where Laura Roslin is in an office building, and you see the reflection of Serenity in the building across the road.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 1, 2015
I am so going to the first episode to check this out. I so want it to be true.

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted July 1, 2015
The AN/UGC-74A makes an appearance as well in Galactica's CIC, but no one cares.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted July 1, 2015
Very cool. The Galactica was supposed to be low tech, and the AN/UGC-74A is certainly low tech for that civilization.

GhostSwirv is gonna tell you...

Posted July 3, 2015

Its cool too how they've incorporated obsolete Westinghouse military tech into the art direction - if I'm not mistaken, just to the right is of the AN/UGS-74A is a WTO1010B/W.

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 3, 2015
Um... Yeah... I saw both series and film, each a few times, in their respective decades.

This is a report on why I like dinosaurs.

J.

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"Mrs. Peel, we’re needed,"

Posted June 26, 2015 into Telly by John Birmingham

iO9 has a nice tribute to Patrick Macnee who passed away this week:

In general, John Steed always seemed as though he was ready for anything. Armies of “Cybernauts” (deadly robot soldiers)? Why not. Shrinking rays? Sure. Deadly telepathic mind probes? But of course. The science fiction ideas in The Avengers were frequently far out, but—in a format later copied by Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who—they were always located in present-day England, and connected to the familiar elements of the modern world.

John Steed’s swashbuckling attitude in the face of an endless succession of scientific abominations seemed to suggest that it would all be okay. And his approaches to rapid technological change and shifting gender roles seemed to be of a piece: Either sort of change will be fine, he seems to suggest, as long as you keep your bowler hat firmly in place. (And your umbrella, with its cunningly concealed sword inside.)

14 Responses to ‘"Mrs. Peel, we’re needed,"’

Sparty puts forth...

Posted June 26, 2015
I doff my hat to him.
I have a lot of love for the Avengers, the sci fi and fantasy episodes outdoing Fringe, X-Files, Who etc, and with a unique era defining style.
Was very sad for him when Mrs Peels husband came back...

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted June 27, 2015
Macnee's professional courage in bringing John Steed, the first openly gay action hero, to life will always be remembered.

Halwes mumbles...

Posted June 28, 2015

I've been off this site while I finished the last book. Screw that ending though. The avengers was my favourite series of all time. Diana Rigg the best offsider. There is no way known that Steed was gay. The relationship with the women was always a simmering sexual one.

Halwes would have you know...

Posted June 30, 2015

I thought you might be but I couldn't let it go unchallenged!

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Halwes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 28, 2015

On another matter, there were plenty in here crowing about the predicted demise of Abbot. The Libs seem to be looking better placed to win the next two elections every day to me. They have really positioned themselves well by scaring the hell out of the great unwashed with terrorism and attacking Shorten with the royal commission. There is very little real talent in both parties but Labor seem to be the dumbest at the moment. Never underestimate how stupid and greedy Australians are is my rule.

insomniac asserts...

Posted June 28, 2015
I'm expecting an election in September. If Tony wins I'm off back to NZ.

insomniac reckons...

Posted June 28, 2015
I should add that it may be a deportation.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted June 29, 2015
Off topic. Can Daesh form a functioning state? Or functioning enough? Is the Caliphate doomed to Balkanisation, fractionalisation with competing leaders, each with the one true faith and grad rockets. Or will Wahabism 2.0 provide sufficient cohesion around which to accrete a reasonable facsimile of a functioning state. For fear of relativism, many occupants of those lands past experience of governance has featured calcified corruption, episodic despotism & some pretty average standards of civic service delivery. By no means am I suggesting that those people deserve less civil rights, freedom blah blah blah, but they wouldn't be the first to trade such niceties for a few less bombs.

insomniac would have you know...

Posted June 30, 2015
How about let them form a state, give them an area in which to live, gather them all together, and then turn the place into glass. Problem solved.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted June 30, 2015
Not an idea without merit. But let's for a moment play with: the next US pres ain't into overseas adventures, the Euros are busy with their own i$$u€$ and no one else has appetite or capacity to unload industrial butt-hurt on the Caliphate.What do we see in 2020?

insomniac asserts...

Posted June 30, 2015
Sounds like an argument for keeping Tony on for a few more years. He has the appetite but thankfully not the capacity.

Halwes would have you know...

Posted June 30, 2015
I'd reckon we should arm the Kurds to the teeth
but talk like that would get me locked up in todays Australia. Anyway plenty of people know more about the subject than I. I don't know if we've had discussion in here about the aussie arab on Q&A but I was kind of proud where we had a country that could let any idiot say what they like. I think it may be more dangerous for us not to know what people are saying and how people are thinking. He seems to have been taken way out of context anyway, perhaps for a good headline? I haven't been subjected to the talk back storm that I'm sure many people have endured but even my cursory examination of the bloke kind of makes me think he's just another angry attention seeker who probably gets stoned and reads his own press.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted July 1, 2015
Defence Signals Directorate just got another good reason to monitor the Gothic.

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Game of Thrones Season finale. [SPOILERS]

Posted June 16, 2015 into Telly by John Birmingham

Poor, poor Girlclumsy.

We all knew this moment was coming. Well, those of us who bothered to read the damn books did. The last two eps this year did manage to pull a few surprise names out of the culling hat - characters who didn't buy it in the print version of A Dance With Dragons. But they were no big deal.

[Remember SPOILERS]

...

...

...

I don't recall Stannis looking all that chipper by the end of the book. And I do wonder what will become of Ser Davos on the telly now that everyone in his whole story arc appears to be dead. Maybe he'll join the Watch?

Theon and Princess Grumpyface? I dont see how they can survive that drop from the walls of Winterfell unless it's into a very deep snow bank. Did you see a snow bank? I didn't see a snowbank. Just the same hard, frozen rocky ground that Junior Bolton's girlfriend assploded on at high speed a few moments earlier.

But of course the Westeros Celebrity Death all of the internet is losing its shit over (except for those of us who read the fucking books) was poor, poor Girlclumsy's Jon Snow. I predicted, to myself but it still counts, that she would begin her final recap this year with a heartfelt cry of, "Noooooo..."

And so she did.

In spite of one critic at The New York Times complaining that they saw no point in further emotional investment in this series (they say this every year) and blaming the TV producers for Snow's untimely demise, he went out on screen exactly the same way he went out on the page, and for the same reasons.

Of course, Melisandre has just turned up at the Wall, and she could turn him into a Snow Zombie next year. (See what I did there?) Even the books seemed just the tiniest bit vague on whether JS was actually dead after being running through with more steel than a Chinese railway building program. And there is Zombie Clegane back in King's Landing to ponder.

So perhaps poor, poor Girlclumsy will get lucky and Jon Snow will return as a purple veined shambler with orange-green eyes.

For those us reading the series before it, however, this episode is a crucial junction. From now on in, assuming Martin doesn't deliver a published hardback in the next 12 months, the TV arc and the book plots are untethered. Our smugness is over.

28 Responses to ‘Game of Thrones Season finale. [SPOILERS]’

jennicki is gonna tell you...

Posted June 16, 2015
Who cares if winter is coming when it no longer bring the sexy Jon Snow?
*sobs quietly in corner*

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Boscolamb is gonna tell you...

Posted June 16, 2015
Is any author more cruel to his literary characters than Martin? Sucks to have the last name Stark or be popular with your fans. Birmo is down-right cuddly to his characters by comparison. Everyone was so upset when you slew Dan Black (off screen at that). You have nothing on George RR Martin!

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Miss Maudy mumbles...

Posted June 16, 2015
I was pretty sure at the end of the book that Jon Snow wasn't quite as dead as he seemed - mainly because all the other deaths of main characters occurred from the POV of the watcher - yet his death was through his eyes.

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coriolisdave asserts...

Posted June 16, 2015
Remember - we didn't SEE Stannis bite it. Any death that doesn't occur onscreen is no death at all.

I've also heard a rumour that the show might do a pivot on a theme and go with a LORD stoneheart...

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted June 16, 2015
I always thought Snow looked like a dust mop.

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted June 16, 2015

I just get it all wrong. I felt sorry for Cersie, my son was saying 'why? shes a total evil bitch'. Maybe it was because she was being admonished by religious zealots. Maybe because she's played by Lena Hadley? Maybe I really liked her hair? Maybe I don't follow the series properly. The sick dragon was tops though.

Rob puts forth...

Posted June 16, 2015

and did anyone notice Lena Hadleys wonky head composited onto another body? That head was a step to the right and wobbled all over the place like a bad photoshoped meme.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 16, 2015
No. I was too busy looking elsewhere.

Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted June 19, 2015
Funny, I said the exact same thing elsewhere on the interwebz!

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Buboe reckons...

Posted June 16, 2015

My Money is on a Melisandre-driven reincarnation a-la Thoros of Myr.
Biggest surprise for me was Myrcella getting poisoned.

Maybe Bronn has antidote from his girlfriend

Bondiboy66 has opinions thus...

Posted June 16, 2015
Yep I'm totally going with that. Anyway, Jon was still sort of breathing and leaking when the credits rolled which, combined with the book information, says to me it a pythonesque 'I'm not dead yet! I'm getting better!'

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted June 16, 2015
Ah, now I get the GoT reference in a pub trivia team name last week: "Jon Snow Dies". I thought it was a reference to John Snow the fast bowler for England.

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted June 16, 2015
Going through the deaths. More than a few of them are quite ambiguous

Selyse: Certainly dead
Stannis: No on screen killing blow
Sansa + Theon: No landing shown
Myranda: Dead doornail
Meryn Trant: Very dead
Myrcella: No on screen death confirmation
Jon Snow: No funeral (potential resurrection by Melisandre)


SZF mutters...

Posted June 17, 2015
Surely Meryn Trant's demise needs to be described in Syrio-speak: "Veeerrrry dead."

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TheWah has opinions thus...

Posted June 16, 2015
Purple veined shambler? oo er you saucy devil

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Squid puts forth...

Posted June 17, 2015
Georgy released a chapter from The Winds of Winter about Theon but I don't know how that works with the TV show (and Princess Grumpface).

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HAVOCK21 is gonna tell you...

Posted June 17, 2015
fkn snow was ....a bitch!.
well I guess we get to wait a weee bit.
whats next JB

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nhamilton@iinet.net.au asserts...

Posted June 18, 2015
GoT is at its best when it reverts to buddy movie, two characters off on an adventure.

Barnesm reckons...

Posted June 21, 2015
Varys and Tryion stil the best for snarky comments

Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted June 22, 2015
Arya and Tywin was good but Arya and the Hound was prob the best

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted June 20, 2015
Speaking of spoilers ... OK, that wasn't the most graceful of segues ... Are you getting many submissions for the Dave anthology?

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted June 21, 2015
I have about a dozen so far. Some really pearls too.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted June 21, 2015
'Real' pearls. Stupid fingers.

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David S. ducks in to say...

Posted June 20, 2015
Martin not deliver the next volume within 12 months? Sure, like that'd ever happen! I mean, he's famously fast with the writing of this series, by this time next year we'll probably have vols. 6 & 7 on our (virtual in my case) bookshelves.
And they said I couldn't write fantasy...

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted June 25, 2015
HBO changed the fates and ending to the very popular series of books, _True Blood_. If they changed the series of "True Blood," they can change the fates and endings in "Game of Thrones."

The bottom line for HBO is money and ratings. Last year's season was a bit dull, and HBO officially announced this season that they would be diverging from the books. Remember, books and visual media are universes unto themselves.

J.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted June 25, 2015
"The bottom line for HBO is money and ratings."

So?

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Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted June 25, 2015
It's obvious Martin fears for his own mortality and his mind is a bit continuity challenged.

J.

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Respond to 'Game of Thrones Season finale. [SPOILERS]'

Netflix ahoy

Posted March 24, 2015 into Telly by John Birmingham

I had my usual run at Blunty this morning, but didn't link to it here because it was just more bitching about climate change destroying my appliances.

When I opened my email this morning, however, there was an exciting message from Netflix, that their local operation was now underway. I did something I don't often do. Went home and wrote a whole new column, for free, just because I wanted to have my two cents worth:

It's on, at last. As of midnight last night you could get Netflix in Australia. A cramped, constrained version of the much larger, more generous US Netflix to be sure, but the journey of a thousand miles begins right after I binge-watch Firefly and House of Cards, oh, and Breaking Bad over on Stan, and all the many, many eps of Dr Who I missed and Torchwood and maybe John Dies at the End.

More here.

If you're wondering why this sudden burst of blogging, it's because I'm having a 'day off' after sending away the first HOOPER ebook manuscript. 32K words on Colonel Varatchevsky's origin story, with a little easter egg for readers of the Disappearance series.

28 Responses to ‘Netflix ahoy’

HAVOCK21 would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2015
yeah well! I finished both fkn books, day and a bit..............FINALLY!

You have no fkn concept how hard it is to NOT FKN COMMENT / READ SHIT when ya aint read the fkn book. BUT NOW I HAVE..both. So how would one, thats a sure fkn fired GOD like me, with NUTs LIKE FKN COCONUTS, nit hanging on the ground and WOMEN ATTRANATDS that are to the power of fkn TEN OF DAVE!.

Good read, fkn good read actually. I think I liked book one more, thats because your ability to describe the TOTAL FKN CARNAGE OF THE KIL BOX! was fkn piss poor and you outta slap Murph over the fkn head , unless he can produce fkn proof he disagreed, that the action was NOWHERE fkn near enough descrptive, I wanted desriptions of MBT,s squashing the fkr, fleshette fkn rounds tangled with SLIVEEN TESTICLES and innards impaled on building fkn walls, tank tracks lubricated withe ec etc and I got five fifths of fk all!

Number three.................it better be better, thats NOT to say 2 wasn't god, but get ya explodie fkn shit together, I want more carnage!

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted March 24, 2015
Note to Murph: Must remember the fleshy testicle thing next time. For Havoc.

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 25, 2015
Fleshy nuts.
Got it.

Murphy puts forth...

Posted March 25, 2015
Wait a minute . . . are there any other kind?
I mean, I figure Sliveen probably have scaly nuts, maybe spiked nuts, or perhaps scabby, hairy, pustule ridden nuts.
Just sayin'.
#DiversifyYourNuts

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Rob would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2015

can't watch it. My internet is like my pugs. Slow. So I have been forced to torrent, its my ISPs fault, honest.

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Darth Greybeard mutters...

Posted March 24, 2015
I'm going for the free trial, just to see if it streams without constant breaks (thanks Rupert, thanks Malcolm). If so, I'm in.

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she_jedi mutters...

Posted March 24, 2015
FFS my Fairfax site WAtoday didn't even run your climate change column. Wasn't until you mentioned it on the Twitterz that I knew it existed. Finally tracked it down on BrisbaneTimes. Shame WAToday shame. I had two Bluntys for the price of one and was denied!

HAVOCK21 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 25, 2015
She J, you should sooooo have seen me when I dressed up as PUSS....IN BOOOTZZ!. FK I made it bad!

she_jedi reckons...

Posted March 25, 2015
I want photos Havock! Surely some brave soul captured this for posterity?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted March 28, 2015
I, for one, do not want to see any photographic depiction of the event.

she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted March 28, 2015
Wuss

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29, 2015
Readily admitted.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 25, 2015
I'm sorry, what is the big deal about Torchwood?
Just wondering.

beeso mutters...

Posted March 25, 2015
Depends which one. The original spinoff was a good edgy sci fi cop drama. Then they took it to the U.S. and absolutely fucked it.

Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 25, 2015
Agreed.

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HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted March 25, 2015
Murph, hear hear. And we should also add to that the other shite he mentioned in that list. Im fkn surprised JB watches sooo much shit really. Its a wonder, that between that crap, sunlight ( queenslanders are renowned for too much sunlight on their brains) and being a dainty writer, that he delivers anyform of explodie fkn goodness, Ill wager the hover has a fkn pink fluffy fkn captains seat at this rate.

AND!

WHO THE FK IS!!!! TORCHWOOD??? FFSAKES!. I heard of Dr WHO.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon has opinions thus...

Posted March 27, 2015
Torchwood is actually an anagram of Doctor Who. It was a good spinoff. Hadn't even heard of the US translation. Not surprised it bombed - why do they even bother? So many examples of failure in that regard. It's not like the US citizens are complete buffoons and can't watch something with an english accent. . . . . .. . no?

Murphy reckons...

Posted March 27, 2015
Simon, it made it here.
It was notable for two men kissing each other.

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GhostSwirv ducks in to say...

Posted March 25, 2015

Dear HAVOCK21 the blogosphere has been bereft of your commanding grip of fearsome pinions of late - one wonders if you shall venture beyond the shores of present time and space and Torchwoodiness an' stuff and all and launch MASS ASSAULTS on the bitchin' TheDave fan fictions?


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Aaron mumbles...

Posted March 26, 2015
Man it sounds like you could have a kill box fan fic festival.
Another note, my wife got me call of duty ghosts for bday, the enemy is the federation, the combined might of South America in about 20 years. Sounds like what was brewin in the last disappearance novel. I am working the kill box

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 27, 2015
My lawyers will be in contact.

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JG is gonna tell you...

Posted March 27, 2015
Had to post this link to Fairfax article re Netflix and Australian piracy by Adam Turner. Why? Because the photo of the man with the Red Right Hand (good song) to his cheek in the article looks uncannily like you, JB, except with black hair, if that's what it is. Anyone else think that, or am I going blind?
http://m.brisbanetimes.com.au/digital-life/computers/gadgets-on-the-go/netflix-wont-slake-the-thirst-of-aussie-pirates-20150326-1m8xpj.html

Joanna

GhostSwirv puts forth...

Posted March 27, 2015

Oh God no - JB as FU ... President of the Free World, heaven help us!!!

JG is gonna tell you...

Posted March 27, 2015
Who is this FU of which you speak, GS?

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GhostSwirv puts forth...

Posted March 27, 2015

JG - if I'm not mistaken, and in this reality that is a distinct possibility, FU is Frank Underwood - ably channeled by the talents of one KS - Kevin Spacey, who incidently also played ... OMG I just realised KS is Keyser Soze!!!

Did like the Red Right Hand reference - can't seem to shake it from my head now - not a bad way to start the school holidays - makes me want to reach for a bit of the Irish, Jack that is, oops wrong Writer's Temple.

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pi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 29, 2015
OT, but last night it occurred to me that some here might or might be familiar with the first Super Dave? Super Dave Osborne that is. I grew up in Canada, and this guy had a show on about his stunts, and he was funny at the time.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube.com+super+dave+osborne&qpvt=youtube.com+super+dave+osborne&FORM=VDRE

It didn't occur to me that some here might not have known about it? Anyway, funny if you're into that sort of thing.

w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted March 29, 2015
In Australia, we had Leo Wanker.
http://youtu.be/eLz5KgBTqPY

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Drew-mo has opinions thus...

Posted March 31, 2015

Firefly, Torchwood, Doctor who...
...excuse me while I fanboy for a few moments........Better now.




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