David Thompson
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April 11, 2022

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Liz

Curiously, given the stated importance of “sensitivity” and being mindful of what things might mean, we aren’t invited to ponder the kind of person who would resent someone else’s wedding photo. And then complain about it.

That.

David

That.

Well, imagine how psychologically messed-up you’d have to be – and how nasty and spiteful you’d have to be – to complain about someone’s wedding photo being visible somewhere in the background of a Zoom meeting. And yet this is the kind of behaviour being excused and encouraged, as if it were something to applaud.

And this is wokeness.

APL

invited to ponder the kind of person who would resent someone else’s wedding photo

No need to ponder. A group Zoom meeting, someone else's picture, but must...find...way...to...make...it...about...meeeeeeeeee.

David

2 stories of note via Jesse Singal:

Nikw211

hearing that your immediate predecessor was harassed and assaulted, and reduced to tears on a daily basis

As if that weren't bad enough, the actual context in which that appears in the original beggar's belief (my italics).

    ... White people’s feelings and intentions often have outsized consequences on People of Color (Sullivan, 2017). The White art teacher I replaced at my high school was said to have wept at the end of every school day. Near the end of her tenure, this teacher pressed assault charges against a Black student who cut off a lock of the teacher’s hair.

He cut off a lock of her hair.

Her hair!

That's not ill-discipline, let alone "rambunctious" behaviour.

That's an early warning sign of someone very likely to graduate on to far worse crimes, possibly of a serial nature.

In the very next paragraph, he complains that the administration of a prison where he volunteered saw fit to " occasionally suspend all on-site educational and rehabilitation programming based on suspicions of romantic feelings between incarcerated men (nearly all BIPOC) and women volunteers (nearly all White)."

According to Stabler, "this experience hearkened back to a long history of violent White panic around the corruption of White women".

Despite, or, who knows, because of these views, Stabler is now an Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University in the Department of Art Education in the faculty in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies.

Because of course he is.

Because what Faculty Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies worthy of the name wouldn't want a male member of staff on it who thinks cutting off a lock of a woman's hair is nothing to write home about, while at the same time finding it a serious problem that convicted felons should not be able to do as they please with visiting female volunteers?

ccscientist

Wedding photo: this, along with much of the Left, is about resentment. If I can't live in a perfect world catering to my needs, no one else should be either. And they include in this resentment society as a whole: if I can't be rich right now, it should all burn.
Maturity consists of recognizing that no one gets free happiness all the time. Everyone, no matter how handsome or rich, has medical issues, suffers the death of friends and family, has painful experiences, struggles with their weight. Society doesn't care much about us as individuals. Sad but true. And none of us really gets to be a Marvel hero.

David

And none of us really gets to be a Marvel hero.

Speaking of which, I’ve booked tickets for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I suspect it’ll be the do-or-die for my watching any further offerings.

asiaseen

readers may be inclined to wonder if there’s an equally modish word for the low-level hostility of inflicting one’s own competitively hypersensitive psychodrama on others

Three: wanker, wankery, wankishness

David

Three: wanker, wankery, wankishness

All solid options.

semi retired conservative

Speaking of which, I’ve booked tickets for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I suspect it’ll be the do-or-die for my watching any further offerings.

Gaah. I can't imagine pinning my hopes on the acting chops of ol' Cumberbund. I haven't really liked him in much since the original season of Sherlock. He always plays a shade and variation of "arrogant prick" I suppose these thespians all have their lane.

FWIW, of all things, Moon Knight hasn't been half bad so far. I had zero expectations so maybe that helped. Plus I appreciate the acting of Duke Leto more. He seems to have more range than necessary for a modern "artiste"

Maynard G. Krebs

The New Puritans also suffer from a debilitating fear that someone somewhere may be happy...

APL

I haven't really liked him in much since the original season of Sherlock. He always plays a shade and variation of "arrogant prick"

Well to be fair - arrogant prick persona works fairly well for Sherlock Holmes adaptations. Regarding the series, I lost interest after Watson's seemingly demure wife turns out to be a secret ninja super agent - all under the nose of supposedly the great mind of Sherlock Holmes. Lost all suspension of disbelief at that point.

ccscientist

APL: suspension of disbelief is becoming harder as movie plots become more sloppy. For example, I am willing to accept warp speed travel, but when Luke kisses his sister or the serial killer seems to have psychic abilities, they lose me. Bad writing.

pst314

Well to be fair - arrogant prick persona works fairly well for Sherlock Holmes adaptations...

A light touch is needed, though. The last Sherlock Holmes that I thought well of was Jeremy Brett. It seems that "light touch" is something that Hollywood is forgetting how to do...or perhaps that is partly due to an increasingly crass audience.

...Regarding the series, I lost interest after Watson's seemingly demure wife turns out to be a secret ninja super agent...

Really? That's the sort of Hollywood bullshit that leads me to ignore their current products effluent and stick to older TV shows and movies and especially to books. I hadn't heard about that plot twist, but then I no longer have much face-to-face social contact with the people who like that sh*t.

Fen Tiger

He always plays a shade and variation of "arrogant prick"

I thought he was pretty good as Greville Wynne in The Courier - rather to my surprise, admittedly.

ccscientist

My favorite Sherlock was Robert Downy Jr.--very tongue in cheek and eccentric and fast paced. I thought they did the sets very well too.

Governor Squid

As an arrogant prick of above-average intelligence*, I must admit that I've really enjoyed life in the age of Dr. House, Sheldon Cooper, Sherlock, and Tony Stark (with apologies to any I've left off the list). Society was sorely overdue for a proper appreciation of the type!

*(A former cow-orker once told me I was a cross between Ron Swanson and House. For the rest of the day, I felt like I was walking on air!)

WEP

"I hadn't heard about that plot twist, but then I no longer have much face-to-face social contact with the people who like that sh*t."

Definitely avoid the final season of Sherlock, in which Sherlock's sister shows up and tortures the boyz mentally and physically.

I'm a fan of the original and liked the early episodes. I even swallowed the silly "Watson's wife is an agent" -- with some trepidation -- but the creators' belief that they had to up the stakes each season undid them.

As for Marvel, they had a good run. Now, I pick and choose. Maybe the next "Guardians of the Galaxy," no to "The Eternals," and since I have no streaming service, none of those offerings, which, judging from the commentary, I'm not missing much.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Just as there is One True Shatner, the One True Holmes is Basil Rathbone, with Downey a distant second. Everyone else is an ersatz Holmes.

David

Just as there is One True Shatner, the One True Holmes is Basil Rathbone,

The Jeremy Brett outings are the ones I remember most fondly. Though I enjoyed the Downey Holmes more than I thought I would. The second film feels a little too long, but both have a certain charm.

Also, “I agree, it’s not my best disguise…”

semi retired conservative

There is only one true Holmes and Brett is his avatar.

Accept no substitution.

Also, Burke > Hardwicke

As to the good professor, I must admit to the only redeeming feature of the Downey movies for me being Jared Harris take on the Bonaparte of crime.

But, he'll always be Anderson Dawes to me.

Darleen

Just as there is One True Shatner, the One True Holmes is Basil Rathbone

Saturday afternoon tv was where I discovered all the old Holmes films with Rathbone. Still top of my Sherlocks. However, I didn't read the books until young adulthood and my view of Nigel Bruce's Dr. Watson, as a loveable but bumbling and dim-witted companion, lost all admiration, even as comedic relief.

pst314

Just as there is One True Shatner, the One True Holmes is Basil Rathbone...

Heresy! Heresy! Cardinal Fang, prepare the plush pincers and comfy chair!

But seriously, I did enjoy the Basil Rathbone films. It's been a long time, but I think my chief complaint about them was how they made Watson into a comic idiot. Maybe it's time to borrow a few from the library and refresh my memory.

pst314

As an arrogant prick of above-average intelligence*, I must admit that I've really enjoyed life in the age of Dr. House, Sheldon Cooper, Sherlock, and Tony Stark...

I've found that I can only tolerate those characters in small doses, and have joked that if The Big Bang Theory were more realistic the first season would end with Sheldon being defenestrated. But then, was it a commenter here who noted that all Chuck Lorre's TV shows feature unlikable people?

Darleen

She's a biology teacher. :::snort:::

David

Following his Poirot films, I wonder if Kenneth Branagh will ever make a big-screen version of Miss Marple…

Sorry, did I say that out loud?

semi retired conservative

Ahhh.. the days of wine and r̶o̶s̶e̶s̶ eggs ?!

https://twitter.com/HerculeanStren1/status/1513499585737539587/photo/1

a different james

Definitely avoid the final season of Sherlock, in which Sherlock's sister shows up and tortures the boyz mentally and physically.

My appetite had waned by about Season 3. The Christmas special- the Abominable Bride - finally killed it for me. I think that it was mostly written by Mark Gattiss, who played Sherlock's brother who, I think, is left-wing even by the standards of actors and luvvies generally.

(I don't care about any actor's or writer's politics or religion. I just don't want to watch something poorly written and acted, whether it supports or runs counter to my beliefs)

WEP

Sorry, did I say that out loud?

Too late!

David

Too late!

Heh. Would watch. I remember upsetting some of the regulars a while ago by remarking that I prefer Marple to Poirot.

pst314

Heh. Would watch. I remember upsetting some of the regulars a while ago by remarking that I prefer Marple to Poirot.

Me too.

Out: "I'm not a Frenchie, I'm a Belgie!"
In: "I'm not a Belgie, I'm a Limey!"

Sigh. Feeling nostalgic for roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

APL

Too late!

So if Branagh played Poirot in his film adaptations, does that mean...? Progressive diversity and all that.

David

Me too.

As I’ve mentioned before, I think of Marple as comfort TV. Yes, there’s quite a lot of poisoning and questionable will-altering, and bodies piling up everywhere, but it is oddly comforting. I’ve seen the Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie runs twice, and some of the older, Joan Hickson versions. I think the appeal is more than a matter of sleuthing and comeuppance. It’s about spending 90 minutes or so in a different world. A holiday of sorts from modern paraphernalia, and modern sensibilities.

aelfheld

Having read Sherlock Holmes before ever hearing of the movies I've never had much truck with on-screen depictions.

pst314

A holiday of sorts...

And the crazier the world around us gets, the more we can use an occasional holiday.

WTP

Ahhh.. the days of wine and r̶o̶s̶e̶s̶ eggs ?!

Can you use red wine instead of white? Can you substitute vodka? ....For the eggs, I mean.

Daniel Ream

if The Big Bang Theory were more realistic the first season would end with Sheldon being defenestrated

Dogbert is the ur-example. As I pointed out at the time to people who found it amusing to ape Dogbert's persona, the jokes are funny because they aren't real. They're a psychological escape hatch, the witty retort twenty minutes after the conversation has ended that we wish we'd been quick-witted enough to use and get away with. In the real world, people who behave like arrogant pricks get nut-punched.

was it a commenter here who noted that all Chuck Lorre's TV shows feature unlikable people?

Yes.

I lost interest after Watson's seemingly demure wife turns out to be a secret ninja super agent

Former agent in the Le Carre sense would have been fine. Seducing and turning foreign personnel, honeypot blackmail schemes. The effort they had to put into cuts and camera angles to make the dumpy, 40-something Abbington look like James Bond rappelling down buildings - the show was a cartoon, and it was a cartoon from at least the second season. The scene where the writers poke fun at the fans shipping Holmes and Moriarty in the Reichenbach Falls homage episode was the last straw for me.

I think of Marple as comfort TV

The retronym for these and their modern counterparts is "cozy mystery". Yes, there's a body in the library, but it's all very genteel and mannerly, these murders.

I prefer Chandler's take on the genre.

pst314

the fans shipping Holmes and Moriarty

Shipping? Don't know what you mean.

Ed Snack

Not that long ago, a “trans fat activist” would have had an entirely different meaning…

WEP

Shipping? Don't know what you mean.

Slang from the world of fanfiction meaning relationship, in the nudge nudge wink wink fashion.

Believe it or not, it's been going on since the '70s, when fanfic writers publishing zines (on mimeograph paper! Uphill! Both ways!) featuring Kirk and Spock, the original ship. Now, you can read Witcher / Poirot ships. There's even helpful tags cluing you in on the delights that await within, like for the above: "Love at First Sight; Angst; Fights; Blood and Injury; Sorceresses; Post-Battle; Rough Kissing; Nudity; Vaginal Sex; Rough Sex; Choking; Multiple Orgasms; Pain; Light BDSM; Light Sadism; Language Kink; Magical Pregnancy; Pregnancy; Murder; Blood and Violence; Exhibitionism; Throne Sex; Oral Sex; Pregnant Sex"

To quote our host: No refunds. Credit slip only.

pst314

Slang from the world of fanfiction meaning relationship, in the nudge nudge wink wink fashion...

Ah, I see. I was so sure that "shipping" had to be a typo that it didn't even occur to be to google for slang meanings.

...Believe it or not, it's been going on since the '70s, when fanfic writers publishing zines (on mimeograph paper! Uphill! Both ways!) featuring Kirk and Spock, the original ship.

"Kirk and Spock" often abbreviated as "K/S". I do remember that. There was a female sf fan I knew in the 70's who pressed some mimeographed K/S fan fiction on me. Oh Dear Lord. Without going into specifics, I'll just say that these femfans had some very disturbing kinks/obsessions.

pst314

Not that long ago, a “trans fat activist” would have had an entirely different meaning…

And I might get a call from HR if I were to talk about getting my tranny rebuilt.

Daniel Ream

S3E01 contains a scene where the supporting cast cooks up various theories to explain how Holmes could still be alive, and one of them includes a passionate kiss between Holmes and Moriarty because their intense rivalry was actually sublimated sexual attraction. It was the writers responding to the emotionally damaged fans who kept insisting on shipping the two in the show's various social media fora.

I'm old enough to remember when Stargate SG-1 did the same thing, except it consisted of the two characters awkwardly explaining to each other painfully obvious reasons why they could never have a relationship without the entire premise of the show going up in smoke. Jeremy Piven's Cupid had a similar scene early on.

The Stargate SG-1 production team were, in general, not entirely respectful of their fandom. Neither was Supernatural.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

All fictional detectives are cheapjack pimps compared to Nick Danger, Third Eye.

Steve E

Further to my comment from the last thread:

"polymorphous perversity"

...in Chicago...a more innocent time?

David Mamet is back in the public eye with a book of essays, Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch.

Oh, and coffee's for closers only.

WTP

Wife and I have been watching the Zelenskyy series Servant of the People. It loses a little in translation but is pretty good. We're only five episodes in and it has been quite interesting how much US influence there is for something that at the time no one would have ever believed any Americans would bother to be watching. President Lincoln even makes an appearance. It's kind of bizarre to be watching a comedy show starring a guy we've seen on the news as a serious leader of a country embroiled in a war with a nuclear (or so they say) power. It's one thing to know a Reagan as an actor then see him become president, of course after governor of California, etc. But to see some guy you only know from the news, then see him doing comedy bits...strange.

WEP

...in Chicago...a more innocent time?

Just a reminder that I saw the first movie version of it, called "About Last Night." Cant remember anything about it except that it starred Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, except that I enjoyed it.

Steve E

Just a reminder that I saw the first movie version of it

I saw the stage play in Toronto when I was in my late teens and fancied myself a budding theatre expert (how naive) and was greatly disappointed to find no sexual perversity whatsoever as the titillating title had suggested. Instead it was very much about adult relationships and mostly went over my young inexperienced head. It did, however, gain me great credibility among the avant garde crowd. I also saw the movie several years later. I was older and a little more experienced and could appreciate it at that point. I also saw it staged about twelve years ago and really enjoyed it. Amazing what experience can do.

Alex DeWynter
Neither was Supernatural.

"They do know we're brothers, right?"

David

Trans, fat activist Lindo Bacon apparently is too white and not fat enough to write a book about ‘health at every size’

The hostage-video apology and subsequent, inevitable stoning session are quite telling. The tweeted replies rather suggest that there’s little point in offering apologies to The People With Pronouns In Their Bios, as the prospect of an apology resulting in people moving on, let alone forgiveness, seems somewhat remote.

David

The scene where the writers poke fun at the fans shipping Holmes and Moriarty in the Reichenbach Falls homage episode was the last straw for me.

I think that was the point at which the writers stopped bothering to write stories that might engage an audience via immersion and suspension of disbelief. The trouble is that as the ‘look-at-how-meta-and-clever-we’re-being’ attitude became more prominent, suspension of disbelief tended to evaporate, and caring about the characters was no longer an option. And so, Sherlock went from “Ooh, this is fun and quite exciting” to, well, aggravating shite very, very quickly. And never to return.

TomJ
[Cumberbatch] always plays a shade and variation of "arrogant prick" I suppose these thespians all have their lane.

May I humbly suggest you hunt down the radio comedy Cabin Pressure, wherein young Benedict plays anything but that. And because, like everything John Finnemore writes, it is an utter delight with a cast rounded out by Roger Allam and Stephanie Cole. Having done that, find John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme which is pure sketch comedy gold.

NateWhilk

I think of Marple as comfort TV. ... I think the appeal is more than a matter of sleuthing and comeuppance. It’s about spending 90 minutes or so in a different world.

I view Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis that way, to some extent. Someone called those series "Oxford porn", referring to the beautiful setting. But the involvement of dons, students, and former students lends an intellectual air as well (at least superficially). Many fans have specific "comfort" episodes.

There's a Twitch.tv stream hosted by an Edinburgher for other fans to gather on Sundays at 8 PM and Wednesdays at 7 PM (UK time) where we watch an episode, discuss it a bit and just chat generally. Because the host is so genial, those meetups themselves have become a comfort to many of us in these troubled times.

NateWhilk

This website is also a comfort (in another way) thanks to our good host David and his merry sense of the absurdities of the left.

David

This website is also a comfort (in another way) thanks to our good host David and his merry sense of the absurdities of the left.

I’m improving quality of life wherever I go.

[ Extends hand, bird lands on it. ]

John

Mention of Cumberbatch and tv adaptations jumping the shark brings us (almost) to the Gary Oldman film version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which, along with numerous other plot and character deviations, decided for no discernible reason to make Cumberbatch’s character Peter Guillam gay.

It’s not as egregious a change as, for example, the writers of Doctor Who wilfully destroying nearly 60 years of established canon but it still matters. Canon is important, not something to be altered at whim.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

I view Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis that way...

All I know from this genre is that I am never going to a small English village because the chance of getting murdered is as high as that of Chicago.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

"...self-identify as a person “of color”...no minimum test scores for admission...we do not require applicants to submit the optional writing section..."

I see. "No standards"* has always been a hallmark of an "elite" institution.

*(Other than non-bouncing check)

John

All I know from this genre is that I am never going to a small English village because the chance of getting murdered is as high as that of Chicago.

If the village name includes the word “Midsomer” turn round and get the hell out of there.

ccscientist

Gary Oldman: a consummate actor. Who else could play Churchill in Darkest Hour and the weaselly bad guy in 5th element. He isn't a "star" because he vanishes into the role and you can't even tell it is him.
Cumberbatch: he does shift from jerk genius to hero pretty nicely in Dr. Strange.
In Murder She Wrote TV series, the Angela Lansbury character writes mysteries and everywhere she goes someone is murdered...and no one catches on?

David

In Murder She Wrote TV series, the Angela Lansbury character writes mysteries and everywhere she goes someone is murdered...and no one catches on?

Like Marple, she’s an angel of death.

Isn’t one of our regulars a Murder, She Wrote aficionado?

sonny wayz

All I know from this genre is that I am never going to a small English village because the chance of getting murdered is as high as that of Chicago.

A handy guide:

https://crimereads.com/your-guide-to-not-getting-murdered-in-a-quaint-english-village/

sonny wayz

poke fun at the fans shipping Holmes and Moriarty in the Reichenbach Falls

Is it just me, or does 'shipping' seem like a variation of 'shtupping'?

WEP

Is it just me, or does 'shipping' seem like a variation of 'shtupping'?

It's not you, it's the raison d'etre for everything. We might as well be wearing signs displaying our favorite proclivities.

The For Better or For Worse comic strip (remember that one?) is running through the "my son is GHEY" storyline, involving a friend of Michael, right down to the fake "10 percent of the population is homosexual" statistic.

Seen from this end of the culture collapse, its feels rather quaint.

WTP

If the village name includes the word “Midsomer” turn round and get the hell out of there.

Or any such that has a pub crawl called "The Golden Mile".

pst314

the fake "10 percent of the population is homosexual" statistic

It will become real if they can groom enough kindergarten children...

PiperPaul

Who else could play Churchill in Darkest Hour and the weaselly bad guy in 5th element.

Don't forget the psycho cop Stansfield in The Professional.

Steve E

Isn’t one of our regulars a Murder, She Wrote aficionado?

[ Nervously shifts eyes from side to side ]

David

[ Opens file, writes suspected deviant. ]

David

[ Feels sudden hankering for a cosy mystery in which a disarming old dear with a mind like a razor packs her knitting and visits friends in a neighbouring village, where something untoward will doubtless occur. ]

Farnsworth M Muldoon

It all came back to me like the hot kiss at the end of a warm fist...

Farnsworth M Muldoon

With an intellect as towering as his height, Robert Reich has Deep Thoughts™.

Musk has long advocated a libertarian vision of an ‘uncontrolled’ internet. That’s also the dream of every dictator, strongman and demagogue...The Russian people know little about Putin’s war on Ukraine because Putin has blocked their access to the truth, substituting propaganda and lies.

That darn libertarian Putin and his uncontrolled internet.

Won't you help? For only pennies a day you can contribute to the Buy A Dictionary For Guardian Op-Ed Writers foundation.

pst314

Won't you help? For only pennies a day you can contribute to the Buy A Dictionary For Guardian Op-Ed Writers foundation.

Won't help: What they lack is a soul.

ccscientist

I know why people like Reich hate it when you quote their actual words. I am not sure I could formulate something so contradictory if I tried.

adoo

I prefer Chandler's take on the genre.

The detective in the case is an insouciant amateur named Anthony Gillingham, a nice lad with a cheery eye, a nice little flat in town, and that airy manner. He is not making any money on the assignment, but is always available when the local gendarmerie loses its notebook. The English police endure him with their customary stoicism, but I shudder to think what the boys down at the Homicide Bureau in my city would do to him.

I was reading the very detective story he's talking about (by AA Milne, the Winnie the Pooh author), googled to see if anyone could explain why it was thought to be any good, and had the pleasure of coming across that Chandler essay. I'd still watch a TV adaptation, though, if they cast the right actor for "that airy manner".

I like his "assembling an egg beater" metaphor, nowadays would probably be "assembling an IKEA coffee table". He's right about Dorothy Sayers. The Lord Peter Wimsey books are enjoyable for whatever implicit intelligence and social observations manage to shine through the dull "assembly instructions".

MarkL

The trouble is that as the ‘look-at-how-meta-and-clever-we’re-being’ attitude became more prominent, suspension of disbelief tended to evaporate, and caring about the characters was no longer an option. And so, Sherlock went from “Ooh, this is fun and quite exciting” to, well, aggravating shite very, very quickly.

That. It has to be one of the fastest declines in quality.

pst314

Writers need to learn that ‘look-at-how-meta-and-clever-we’re-being’ will nearly always turn out to be shite.

APL

That. It has to be one of the fastest declines in quality.

Nah, Battlestar Galactica (the reboot) gets my vote. Loved the first season, but then they start making "everybody is a Cylon" and my enthusiasm waned. Come to think of it, also Westworld even before the 1st season ended with a ridiculous subplot involving a hapless techie endowing superpowers to a host.

David

Nah, Battlestar Galactica (the reboot) gets my vote. Loved the first season, but then they start making “everybody is a Cylon” and my enthusiasm waned.

And if you’re going to start each episode, week after week, with the ominous words “And they have a plan,” it helps if you actually, you know, have a plan.

Richard Cranium

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucKnNOkiapg

Daniel Ream

Nah, Battlestar Galactica (the reboot) gets my vote

Despite being a huge fan of the series as the point where SF on TV started getting taken seriously, I also agree with you.

a ridiculous subplot involving a hapless techie endowing superpowers to a host

It was clumsily handled, but the basic theme - what happens when these beings we've created surpass us - is a good one. Proving the earlier point, the writer in S2 of Westworld was absolutely an author insert, and the inevitable look-how-clever-and-meta-we're-being corresponds to the plummeting quality.

it helps if you actually, you know, have a plan

I have a passing acquaintance with the author of the nuBSG roleplaying game, and now that it's safely fifteen years gone he's starting to tell some interesting stories. He had inside access to the production crew, cast &c. in order to write the games and he's confirmed that Moore was, in fact, just making sh*t up as he went. Writer's meetings routinely began with Moore charging into the room with "hey, wouldn't it be cool if..."

There was also the fact that multiple members of the nuBSG cast also got caught up in the NXIUM sex cult scandal along with the cast members of Smallville. The actress who played Callie ended up legally married to Allison Mack in a weird attempt to avoid being subpoenaed.

Fr1day

'The kind of person who would resent someone else’s wedding photo,' if you'll pardon the pithiness, around these parts we have a word for folks like that. We call call them asshole.

TomJ
That darn libertarian Putin and his uncontrolled internet.

Won't you help? For only pennies a day you can contribute to the Buy A Dictionary For Guardian Op-Ed Writers foundation.

David

Moore was, in fact, just making sh*t up as he went. Writer’s meetings routinely began with Moore charging into the room with “hey, wouldn't it be cool if...”

As producer David Eick reportedly put it when asked what the often-mentioned plan was, “It doesn’t matter… We’ll figure it out later.” But they never did figure it out, and it did matter. So, from one of the best opening episodes of a science fiction show I can recall, and a very solid first season, the thing started meandering and losing momentum. Because it wasn’t clear, or convincing, or even interesting, what the antagonists actually wanted. First it was simply genocide, then theological conversion, then babies, then a more convoluted and dull theological claptrap, then… well, by that point, a large part of the audience had stopped caring.

Which is a pity, because they could have delivered something quite special. It took TNG, for instance, four years to become even watchable, but BSG hit the ground running, with much more polish and coherence. I remember finishing the first episode, 33, and being hooked, quite emphatically, which doesn’t often happen. The show seemed to know from the off what it was, and what it was about, which is kind of ironic, given what followed.

Richard Cranium

(The following is from absolute ignorance; I've never watched Star Trek: TNG. I did watch a lot of the original Star Trek and I've seen some of the movies that came afterwards.)

Wait, TNG was ever watchable? Weren't they using the holodeck to do other stupid things by then?

My suspension of belief shorted out when they mentioned that they had a nursery on a Federation warship.

David

Wait, TNG was ever watchable?

Someone may be along shortly to list the decent episodes. Though in hindsight it’s not a great batting average.

pst314

Somebody here mentioned Canadian sf writer Robert Sawyer. He just posted a photo on Facebook, tagging someone I follow, and Sawyer's smile is very creepy.

pst314

Moore was, in fact, just making sh*t up as he went. Writer’s meetings routinely began with Moore charging into the room with “hey, wouldn't it be cool if...”

Sounds like a Monty Python satire of Hollywood. Bring on the Giant Electric Penguin!

Pooklord

Regarding TNG, Roddenberry was I believe largely responsible for the near-unwatchability of the first couple seasons; the writing and character development improved greatly after he was gone.
Bear in mind also they had to churn out about twenty-five ~45 minutes episodes every year, per American television production expectations of the period. With that kind of volume there are bound to be plenty of "filler", dull, re-hashed, and yes, later "holodreck" episodes, in which all limitations of time, space, character, canon fidelity etc could be temporarily suspended. A cheat for the writers, really.

David

“holodreck” episodes,

Heh. Though I did like the one in which a holographic Professor Moriarty takes over the ship. (Guest appearances by Daniel Davis and Stephanie Beacham, as the devoted Countess Regina Bartholomew, didn’t hurt.)

pst314

Regarding TNG, Roddenberry was I believe largely responsible for the near-unwatchability of the first couple seasons

I have heard that, too.

pst314

That mention of Roddenberry reminds me of a mediocre sf novel in which every character's name was a ‘look-at-how-meta-and-clever-we’re-being’ play on the name of an sf writer or other personality. Roddenberry was rotnbear or something. That novel should have remained a one-column article in a fanzine or an exchange in a letter column. And yet the novel got very good reviews. Sigh.

Daniel Ream

Wait, TNG was ever watchable?

No.

Weren't they using the holodeck to do other stupid things by then?

Mostly portraying the Klingons as semi-literate baboons, as I recall. And casting Jewish actors to play the short, greedy, goblin merchant aliens.

Sawyer's smile is very creepy

He's quite the meme.

Roddenberry was I believe largely responsible for the near-unwatchability of the first couple seasons

The writers - many of whom returned from TOS - complained repeatedly that Roddenberry's "there is no hunger, there is no greed, and all the children know how to read" utopian vision of the 24th century made it impossible to write anything but monster stories because he'd removed virtually all conflict. It's worth noting that one of the best-regarded TNG episodes, Yesterday's Enterprise, was written and shot in an incredibly rushed timetable without Roddenberry's involvement (which is also how they sneaked Crosby on to the set).

Though I did like the one in which a holographic Professor Moriarty takes over the ship

I have noted in the past that Enterprise needed a holodeck ejection system far more than a warp core ejection system. It's one thing to put up with reality-distorting transporter malfunctions because it's just so damn useful the rest of the time, but when, say, the pool table in the officer's mess periodically grows legs and fangs and eats a 2nd lieutenant, you don't wait around to see if it'll do it again. You shove it out the nearest airlock and tell the lads to take up whist.

Roddenberry reminds me of a mediocre sf novel in which every character's name was a ‘look-at-how-meta-and-clever-we’re-being’ play on the name of an sf writer

Gene Roddenberry's middle name was Wesley. Just so you know.

Steve E

And casting Jewish actors to play the short, greedy, goblin merchant aliens.

Ah yes, the Ferengi. It's like they took every jewish stereotype and just said, go with it...at least the Caribbean inspired belters almost take over the whole known universe...a big improvement on Jar Jar Binks. Meesa justa f***off now.

And I take sh!t for watching Murder She Wrote. ;p

pst314

He's quite the meme.

Heh. I don't know Sawyer well, but I interpreted that creepy smile as meaning that he has a highly defective mind that was attempting to simulate cheerful friendliness.

I have noted in the past that Enterprise needed a holodeck ejection system

Yes. The holodeck was a horrible idea.

Gene Roddenberry's middle name was Wesley. Just so you know.

A Mary Sue, given Gene Roddenberry's arrogantly high opinion of himself?

Roddenberry reminds me of a mediocre sf novel

Just remembered the name of the novel: The Flying Sorcerers by Larry Niven and David Gerrold. At the end we find out that the protagonist's name, Purple, is a machine mistranslation of his real name, Asimov. As-a-mauve. Gosh. How funny.

Daniel Ream

A Mary Sue, given Gene Roddenberry's arrogantly high opinion of himself?

Wheaton claims so. He says that once he figured out that Wesley was just 14-year-old Roddenberry, he was able to play the character much "better" (i.e. the way Roddenberry wanted). Hamill has said the same about Lucas.

pst314

Wheaton claims so. He says that once he figured out that Wesley was just 14-year-old Roddenberry, he was able to play the character much "better" (i.e. the way Roddenberry wanted). Hamill has said the same about Lucas.

Ouch. Mary Sue tendencies are shameful in a 33-year-old George Lucas, but even more so in a 66-year-old Gene Roddenberry.

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