TL;DR – This is a fascinating yet polarising show, that I don’t think will find a middle ground for most people and instead will hit one of the extremes.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
There are some concepts that you hear and immediately know that it was a good idea, and sticking a bunch of comedians in a room and make them force everyone to laugh while keeping yourself mute. This is one giant game of chicken with $100,000 on the line. Though I should say before diving in, I think you will know immediately if this show is for you with one phrase “dildo jacket”.
The format of the show is straightforward, you can’t laugh, you can’t even really smile, because if you do your out. This is complicated a little bit by everyone getting one yellow card warning and also getting a Joker Card that can be used only once to force everyone in the room to focus on you. That’s it, but then that is all you need if you have cast the show well, which is what they have done here.
TL;DR – This series continues to be the benchmark for modern Science Fiction, the benchmark for novel adaptation, and the benchmark for great TV.
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
Last year I wrote an article about how we are in a new Golden Age of Science Fiction and at the heart of that theses was the joy that was The Expanse. At the time Season Three had come out, and we still were not sure if that would be the end of the TV show. It would have been sad if the show’s story had ended there, but at least we still had the books, which was a little consolation. However, I was overjoyed to hear that it got a last-minute pick-up for Season Four on Amazon, ecstatic when I discovered that it was already greenlit for Season Five, and over the moon now that I have watched Season Four and have discovered the joy that it is.
So to set the scene, at the end of last season, disaster had been forestalled and new opportunities have arrived when thousands of gates to thousands of new solar systems opened up. Fearing the new disaster that could come for an out of control gold rush, or worse a new proto-molecule infection, the powers at be, the new alliance of Earth, Mars, and the OPA work together to set up a blockade at the Solar System side of the network. But before they could get it set up a bunch of Belter refugees took the gamble and broke through the blockade. Months later and somehow the Belter have survived, which is causing Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) all levels of grief because the Royal Charter Energy (RCE) Company has legal claim to the planet and has sent their ship the Edward Israel to what they call New Terra, but what the Belters call Ilus. So who better to go and meditate, well that would be the crew of the Rocinante James Holden (Steven Strait), Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper), and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham). Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – This is and continues
to be the gold standard to adaptations of literature, capturing the heart of
the books, even if it does not hit every plot beat along the way.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I mentioned back in my look at the New
Golden Age of Science Fiction that The Expanse is one of the best adaptations on TV at the moment. Here
in Australia, I got to watch the first two seasons on Netflix and was
constantly entranced with just what a good job they did of bringing James S. A.
Corey’s books to life. The third season has been tricky to find but today I was
able to hunt it down on Amazon and gave it a watch. Well, how does it do? Well,
I can tell you that I watched the entire first arc of the season in one
session, being so completely engrossed that I didn’t realise how late in the
evening it had gotten … so that it is always a good sign.
So to set the scene, we open in the aftermath of season two and the turn that
put Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) from a position of absolute power
to her running for her life after being betrayed by Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn
Doyle). Stuck on a ship that has just been fired upon by her own side there is
not much hope for escape but then that is why she brought Bobbie Draper (Frankie
Adams) a former Martian marine along. They manage to escape, but they are still
under pursuit, and while they were gone the whole solar system has erupted into
war and the Jupiter planetary system is ground zero for the conflict. Meanwhile,
on the Rocinante the crew are dealing
with two big problems, the fact that Naomi (Dominique Tipper) lied to them, and
they have done nothing really to help Prax (Terry Chen) find his daughter. With
everything falling apart the question is: will James Holden (Steven Strait) going
to step in and help stop this war, or is he going to sit back and let others
make the tough calls?
TL;DR – Emotional, yet funny, Completely relatable, yet deeply personal, a look into what makes us who we are.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
So The Big Sick was one of those delightful films where I knew nothing about it before I went to see it, which is rare in a time where not only are movie trailers plastered everywhere, but they routinely spoil the films they are promoting. To be fair I had seen one clip, the Thanksgiving Day parade, and you could infer things from the poster, but in this day and age that’s as close to not knowing as you can get. Also, I was going to give this one a pass because I’ve not found the Rom-Com genre to be anything but rehashes of the same material, for years now. So I was completely surprised, because The Big Sick turned out to be nothing like the film I was expecting to see, I’ve not been this surprised since The Dressmaker (review).