Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 7 Review – Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad

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Certainly, it’s not difficult to imagine a version of this episode where Burnham was largely on the periphery; one in which the focus was on Stamets and Tyler primarily, without needing Burnham to intercede on their behalf. Taking the time to dwell on the supporting characters would be welcome at this point in the series, not least because they’re often so charming. (How brilliant is Ensign Tilly? She is a gift, honestly.) We’re already at the halfway point of the series, and only have about three weeks left in the first run of episodes – soon it’ll be time for the midseason break. Beyond Burnham, how much time have we spent on each of the characters?

I liked the title of this episode. As to the episode itself? It was alright, I thought, but I was perhaps not as fond of it as the general consensus seems to be.

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Ranking the episodes of Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams

Electric Dreams, adapted from Philip K Dick’s short stories, was an anthology series offering a new take on a different science fiction concept each week. Tonight saw its sixth episode, concluding the series’ 2017 run – a further four episodes are scheduled for early next year. As with any anthology series, Electric Dreams had its highs and lows; here, then, is a ranking of each of the series’ six offerings so far.

Worth noting this is my ranking of the first 6 episodes of Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, as they were broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK – The Hood Maker, Impossible Planet, The Commuter, Crazy Diamond, Real Life and Human Is, respectively. Though not in that order, obviously.

In short, I wanted to love them, but often found I didn’t. Generally, I found that the latter four of the Channel 4 broadcast were actually better than the initial six, though I’ve never really written about any of them. I’d like to go more in-depth on them at some point, though – one possible, far off project I’d like to take a crack at would be a series of detailed essays on Black Mirror and Electric Dreams.

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Fraser Coull on Cops and Monsters, the difficulties of indie filmmaking, and more

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Whether it’s the availability of an actor, or a location falls through, and scheduling around 20-30 people around weekends to make sure you get everything shot, [there are always some challenges]. You’re always waiting on the crowdfunding money to come in so you can pay for things and make sure the cast and crew get paid for their work. Nothing runs to plan 100% of the time. But we’re professional, we keep our heads down and work our way out of any problems we face. Hopefully by the time the final episode goes out, people won’t notice any problems we had.

Here’s my chat with Fraser Coull about Cops and Monsters – now on Amazon Prime! Fraser’s a pretty nice dude, and his enthusiasm for Cops and Monsters really leaps off the screen whenever he talks about it.

This piece is definitely worth a read for any hopeful filmmakers out there; I’ve learned a thing or two from it myself, stuff which I’ll keep in mind when I start working on some films myself.

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Greg McLean on his new film Jungle, working with Daniel Radcliffe and more

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The true story really does lend itself to a movie; we didn’t have to do a lot to make it into an action adventure thriller. It already had those elements in it. When the story really happened to Yossii, he spoke about how he went down and wrote the story, he wrote the book, and it was almost like a confession. I think he was trying to keep together what really happened there with his friendship group.

The book has this very immediate character arc, which translated really well to a screenplay. So, when I came onto the project, we already had a script but what I try to do was bring it back to the book, to be as accurate to the true story. The book is very simple, very thought out – a very compelling and emotional read. That was why I wanted to tell it as true as possible.

Here’s my recent interview with Greg McLean about his film Jungle.

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Riverdale Season 2: Five questions we have after The Watcher in the Woods

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With the introduction of a new gang, Archie forming a neighbourhood watch group, and a letter from the Angel of Death, there are a lot of mysteries to solve – and a lot of questions we need to find the answers to. 

Here are five questions we need answering after the latest episode of Riverdale.

Another Riverdale article from me, with speculation, fan theories and so on – this one is old enough that I was still calling the Black Hood “the Angel of Death”, because they’d not really started saying the Black Hood yet.

This is also the one where I asked whether or not Toni Topaz would pose a threat to “Bughead”, which is exactly the sort of slightly ridiculous comment that typifies these Riverdale articles. It makes me laugh, anyway.

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Gattaca at 20: Why it’s still one of the best sci-fi movies around

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At its heart, the movie is a consideration of perfection – an interrogation of the drive to achieve perfection and what it truly means to eliminate flaws. There’s something notable about how Gattaca presents a uniform world through its colour and lighting, dystopian because of its lack of variety – and in turn how this changes around Vincent, a tacit acknowledgment of how he still represents utopian potential in a dystopian world.

An article I wrote for Gattaca’s twentieth anniversary; it’s one of my favourite movies. First watched it in school, actually. Not for a science class, as you might expect, but in fact in an RE lesson.

There’s also a neat callback here, actually, because I’ve been meaning to write an article on Gattaca ever since I started my blog – there’s been a tumblr post to that effect sat in my drafts for nearly five years now. So, it’s good to have finally ticked that one off the list!

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Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6 Review – Lethe

Discovery is struggling to move beyond the Planet of the Hats. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, essentially it refers to a culture defined by a single ubiquitous character trait. Every single Vulcan is logical. Every single Klingon is a warrior. Every single person on the planet of the hats wears hats all the time. It’s a prominent sci-fi genre convention (or cliché, if you’re feeling less kind), and one with plenty of examples across Trek history – pick a random episode of TOS and you’ve got a good chance of finding one.

Discovery, up until now, is pretty much just doing the same thing. Vulcans are all dedicated to logic, Klingons to war, Kelpians are all fearful (or so we’re told); as ever, it’s only the human characters who have differences in aspirations and motivations and even personalities. Yes, certainly, there are differences within that limited scope; while both Sarek and the Vulcan suicide bomber are both dedicated to logic, they’ve clearly got differing interpretations of such. But even then – the Vulcan is a radical adherent to logic. Is that the most interesting thing you could have done with it?

Here’s my review of Lethe, which is the one with James Frain as Sarek. Well, one of them.

At times, I did find Discovery frustrating, even while actually quite enjoying it. This is one such episode, really; entertaining in a lot of ways, but enough little flaws to grate throughout.

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Star Trek: Discovery, and the Klingon played by an actor who doesn’t exist

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It seems increasingly likely, then, that it’ll soon be revealed, possibly as part of Discovery’s midseason cliffhanger, that Ash Tyler is in fact the Klingon in disguise. A means to uncover him has already been set up – the tribble on Captain Lorca’s desk. Famously, The Original Series saw a Klingon disguised as a human unveiled because of how a tribble reacted to him; it’s exactly the sort of allusion to Trek history that Discovery has revelled in so far.

While it’s too early to say just yet, it’ll be interesting to see if tonight’s episode lends more credence to this still-developing theory – and just where the series will go from there…

Here’s an article on the Klingon that doesn’t exist…

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Riverdale Season 2: Five questions we need answering after episode 2, Nighthawks

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With the continuation of the Angel of Death storyline, some more machinations from the Lodge family, and the start of a new drug craze in the town of Riverdale, there are a lot of mysteries to solve. And that means there’s a lot of answers we need to find. 

Here are five questions we need answering after the latest episode of Riverdale.

The first of several weekly articles on Riverdale! I never did one of these for A Kiss Before Dying – those got two theory posts instead.

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Christopher Willis on The Death of Stalin, the Soviet composers who inspired the film’s score, and more

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The starting point was thinking about Soviet music from the 1950s, of which there was a lot, you know, there was a whole stable of Soviet concert composers who also wrote for movies in that period. Shostakovich being the most famous, and also Prokofiev who was slightly complicated one, because he came and went, and Weinburg. In fact, there’s a large number of others who are not so famous.

And we were thinking for a long time about the tone of it. There needed to be something that would give you the nervousness of the film and genuine danger, but also not tap into a straightforward drama. And going forward, funnily enough, most period dramas are known to tend to limit the sound of the music on the set, so there was something very interesting in getting closer to that sound.

This was a great interview, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out – Christopher was great to talk to, and said some fascinating things about The Death of Stalin.

I’m particularly fond of this one, actually, just because of how nice a guy Christopher was. I’ve found – purely anecdotally – that composers tend to be the nicest of all the people I’ve interviewed. Not sure why; might just be that I’ve largely interviewed some terribly nice people who happen to be composers. But it just sort of sticks in my mind, I suppose.

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