TL;DR – This is a truly bizarre but entirely compelling show, that blends fiction and reality with a deft hand
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
A couple of years ago there was this odd film that exploded into the world out of nowhere, it was an exploration of Queen Anne full of intrigue and irreverence. When something like that blasts out into the world you try to find out what the creators will do next, so when I heard the latest series around Catherine the Great was writing by Tony McNamara one of the writers of The Favourite I had to give it a watch and it was a good choice.
So to set the scene, Catherine (Elle Fanning) is a starry-eyed young noble who has had the fortune to be matched with the current Emperor of Russia, Peter III (Nicholas Hoult). She brings him a branch as a present of her love, living in this world of fantasy right up until the local archbishop ‘Archie’ (Adam Godley) checked to see if she was still a virgin. The realities of the Russian court were nothing like she had thought, with violence and bitterness at every turn. Still, she found comfort in her maid Marial (Phoebe Fox), the odd wisdom of Aunt Elizabeth (Belinda Bromilow), and the books of Orlo (Sacha Dhawan). Maybe she could find a place here in this strange land … or maybe yet, could not this strange land bend to her will. Now we will be looking at the series as a whole and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – A show full of great actors and talent that unfortunately falls completely flat because it can’t pick a tone
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
Review – You would think a show that blends tow of my great loves, politics and space in the one show would be an instant hit for me. Well I do not envy the job the writers would have had on this job. You take one of (though by far not the most) stupid ramblings that was spat out on Twitter by the current President of the United States and turn it a slightly farcical spoof. The balance you would need to pull that off would be a high wire act and as we see today it does not work. Also, I should point out that if you are who has a passing understanding of space mechanics or current political system you will involuntarily cringe throughout the show.
To see the scene, General Mark R. Naird (Steve Carell) is with his wife Maggie (Lisa Kudrow) and daughter Erin (Diana Silvers) in The Pentagon for a big day as he is being promoted to a 4-Star General in the Air Force. However, he is not being promoted to the head of the Air Force but the brand new Space Force in nowhere Colorado. One year later and while things are proceeding Mark’s life has not gone quite to plan with his wife now in prison and a POTUS that wants results and they are not ready to give them. Now we will be looking at the series as a whole and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – This is one of the
strongest opening hours of TV I have seen in years, with the first few minutes affecting
me in ways I was not ready for.
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
A pilot episode of television has a lot it has to do. It has to set the tone,
explain the setting, introduce you to the main characters, and find the drive
for the whole season. I have seen a lot of TV show pilots in my time and even
shows that are fantastic can fumble parts of this very important introduction.
Well, today I look at a show that nails every single element in its 50 minutes
So to set the scene, we open in on a tragedy where Alex Irving (Deborah Mailman)
is thrust into the national spotlight after a video goes viral. Alex shuns all
media request for interviews but she has caught the eye of someone important.
Soon there is a knock at the door and Jonathan (Harry Richardson) who works for
the Federal Government arrives at Alex and her mother Jan’s (Trisha
Morton-Thomas) house in Winton in country Queensland. He is there with an offer
for Alex to take over the seat of a Senator that has just died. She declines,
saying that if Prime Minister Rachel Anderson (Rachel Griffiths) wants her to
be a senator then she can come and ask herself, which is exactly what she does.
For here we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR– When everything is even what system you use to tabulate the votes will have a marked change on the outcome.
Throughout the year in my other job I have been teaching classes on Political Science, specifically Australian Political Institutions. On the week where we discussed voting systems one of the things that we mention is that how you chose to formulate your electoral systems can have dramatic impacts on the outcome of elections i.e. who gets what seats in parliament. However, while this was clear I didn’t have a good example to show. Well, I had some free time at the end of the year and this question had been bugging me so I decided to work through the data myself to see if there was such a big difference and it does, boy does it ever. Now, for those who are not familiar with Australian Politics, we have presented a little primer next, as well as a general overview of the project, but if you are familiar you can skip down to the data below.
TL;DR – A film that exposes what is at the heart of politics, power and privilege, and how you can use that to get away with
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – No end credit scene
In the late hours of July 18th, 1969, a car drove off the side off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. There were two people on board and only one survived and so would start a political scandal because the one that survived had the surname Kennedy. For those who might not know, which is fine by the way, the Kennedys are a political dynasty that has been a key factor in American politics since the 1930s including the 35th President of the United States. Today we are going to explore an incident that had the potential to destroy that political dynasty.