Tag Archives: TV

Sluggish Reaction: The Man in the High Castle seasons 1 and 2

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I gave Amazon Prime Video a whirl recently and one of the big draws for me (alongside them getting Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger) was this series. I love Philip K. Dick novels and they are seemingly an unending source of inspiration for  film and television producers as this latest addition shows. This is one of the novels I’ve never got round to reading but it’s Post-WW2 setting had always intrigued me as it stood out from most of Dick’s work which is set in the future. So the chance to see it on screen was very exciting.

The Plot

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I’ll try to avoid spoilers as much as possible going into this. The show is set in 60s in the U.S. a few years after Nazi Germany and Japan won the war by dropping a nuclear bomb on Washington D.C. America has been divided into the Greater Nazi Reich and the Japanese Pacific States with a lawless wasteland dubbed the Neutral Zone in between.

The Plot centres around the Resistance against both Japan and Germany, with tensions in both countries raised due to an ageing and increasingly unstable Fuhrer. But the show has a Sci-Fi twist with the inclusion of the titular character who collects films which show an alternate reality where the Allies won the war.

I respect that the show doesn’t make this a focal point except where it needs to be, the plot is centered on the characters and their struggle and the films are a mystery to most of the characters and the audience.

The Characters

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The show features a range of characters who are all compelling. Unassuming Juliana is drawn into the world of the Resistance by her sister’s death and cannot let go, though it costs her nearly everything even Frank who wants to stay out of it but is compelled to fight back as the consequences of her actions affect him. One of the most intriguing characters is John Smith, devoted family man and the very dangerous leader of the SS in the United States. All the characters have a real humanity and are trying to make their way in the world they find themselves in and you can’t help sympathizing with all of them.

A-Bombs and F-bombs

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The second season in particular builds tension as supposed allies Japan and Germany both contemplate the possibility of nuclear war to secure their foothold and characters on both sides conflict with their loyalty to their leaders when faced with the possibility of mutually assured destruction.

I would mention that the series does have a fair amount of salty language in, which I wasn’t keen on. The obvious argument would be that it builds realism and fits with the darker tone of the show but I personally felt that the series stood well enough on it’s own to not need that. There is also some nudity, which is sparingly used, but again I didn’t feel was at all necessary to the plot.

Verdict

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The show has a great cast and is finely crafted. The first season felt a bit slow in getting going (particularly with the epically long title sequence!!) but it put the building blocks in place and the second season felt stronger because of it.

I know season 3 is out now, but unfortunately for me there wasn’t enough on Prime Video for me to continue subscribing so maybe I’ll pick this up again in the future as well as get around to reading the novel!!

 

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Who should be in the Cassian Andor show: The Empire

One more look at who could possibly co-star in the Cassian Andor show, this time looking at the Imperials who might appear. To be completely honest, it’s going to be a no for most of these and honestly I think that’s more exciting – I like the idea of a new villain more than the recurrence of a familiar face and while from the Rebel side I think one or two recurring characters would be good, and possible essential, I don’t think the same can be said for the Empire.

Darth Vader

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As the Dark Lord himself said…Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!! I do not think Vader should show up in the show. I know he has appeared in Rebels but his presence was warranted especially with the size of the Rebel action and the presence of Ahsoka. He is too big to have a minor role and I worry about not doing him justice in this format.

Orson Krennic

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While I could see it as a possibility I have to go for no. Krennic seems pretty obsessed with the Death Star project for a long time, which is only discovered by Cassian in Rogue One. It is possible he may have had some side projects which Cassian could have a hand in taking down, but they have a pretty long face to face moment and it seems clear they have never met before.

Galen Erso

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A more definite no for me. Galen is a top-level Imperial weapons researcher. The only way Cassian would interact with him is to try and kill him, which is pretty clear from Rogue One. Also again his entire work is focused on the Death Star, so Cassian following him and learning nothing about the project would just make him a bad spy.

Grand Moff Tarkin

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Again no. The process of re-creating him was experimental and expensive and I can’t see them recreating it for TV. Same goes for Motti, Tagge and other Imperials seen in A New Hope. They could re-cast but it seems more straightforward to go for new characters. I also looked into the Imperials shown in the visual guide but they’re all based on either the Death Star or Scarif which places them outside the scope of the show – unless they have an earlier posting elsewhere.

Palpatine

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Palpatine is a potential, as any Imperial would potentially report back to him, but like Vader he’s too big of a character to have in a background role I feel.

Thrawn

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I’d love it – live action Thrawn would be a dream come true for so many of us. It would be cool to have Cassian tracking this rising star in the Empire, but without some kind of victory it would be hard for the series to have a satisfying resolution.

Hmm…this is getting very negative. I’m struggling to think of anyone else from the films and I’m not well versed enough in Rebels and the books, comics to know if names I’ve heard like Rae Sloane would fit into the timeline

Doctor Aphra

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I know there’s a lot of clamour for this character to transition to screen. I enjoyed her introduction in the comics and I could see her making a decent one-off appearance as a shady contact.

OK, I’m struggling here. Basically my conclusion is that our most likely option is to get a completely new character when it comes to the main antagonist, but I had a quick look into Legends too.

Ysanne Isard

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I think the Imperial Security Bureau, led by Ysanne ‘Iceheart’ Isard were such great antagonists in the X-Wing books that she would be well worth bringing back to Canon. Even if it was not necessarily her but have a similar character in the same role and have Imperial Intelligence with their resources compete with Cassian would certainly fit the ‘spy thriller’ mold.

OK and with that my well has run dry – please drop a comment and let me know if you agree, disagree or know of someone I’ve missed

 

Who should be in the Cassian Andor Show: The Rebellion part 2

I’ll continue looking at who could be associated with the new Cassian Andor show on Disney+

Pilots, Officers and Troops oh my!

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There are too many Rebel personnel on Yavin 4 to list. My guesses for who could appear would be anyone associated with Alliance Intelligence. From the troops Melshi’s name was the only one that stood out to me which makes him the most  likely candidate. Blue Eleven in her role as a U-Wing transport pilot would also be a  logical choice.

Alliance Senators

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All of the Senators have interesting backstories. I think it would be cool to see one of them recruited and making the bold step to join the Alliance and pledge their homeworld’s support to the Rebellion.

Saw Gerrera

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I’m going to say…no. While Yavin 4-based characters could conceivably fit into the show adding Saw would just tie it too closely to Rogue One and the show needs to stand on it’s own. The only interesting possibility is seeing Saw as a member of the Rebellion before his extremist ways caused them to cut ties with him, but I’d rather see that told through other Partisans as again the film clearly suggests he and Cassian never met

The Partisans

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Having said that I think the Partisans or the origins of the Partisans would be cool to see. We’ve seen one of the Two tubes brothers appear in Solo so more connectivity would work fine. I would like to maybe see Beezer Fortuna show up as a contact or see Rebels who fight with Cassian become disillusioned and leave to join Saw.

Tivik

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I really liked the idea of this character coming into the series when I heard it- especially as he and Cassian clearly have a history. Daniel Mays is a great actor and definitely deserves more screen time in the Star Wars galaxy. I think they could play on the tragic ending aspect – one thing that occurred to me was that it would be more tragic if his bad leg was in some way due to an incident caused by him and Cassian working together in the past.

Enfys Nest and the Cloud Riders

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Another idea that’s been batted around on some podcasts is Enfys Nest. Now the more I think about it this idea has some potential, depending on what stories they want to tell. I like the idea of the Rebellion forming against the Empire but this group feeling a moral duty to oppose Crimson Dawn and criminals as well as or instead of the Empire as a whole

Anyone/Everyone from Star Wars Rebels

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A near-constant topic on Star Wars videos is the possibility of Rebels characters transitioning to live-action. I haven’t watched much of the show so I’m not as attached to the characters as some are. I’m not against more connectivity at all, I found the appearance of the Ghost in Rogue One really exciting, but as I don’t have the same attachment I don’t feel the need for any of these characters to make an appearance, which will be the position of most fans as it will be hard to crowbar them in without either making their role minor or spending a lot of time explaining who they are. Of the cast I’d say the most likely appearance would be Hera as she is most associated with the main Rebellion and would be easy to cast as she’s a Twi’lek

Well that’s it – any Rebels I’ve missed, please drop a comment and let me know!

Who should be in the Cassian Andor show: The Rebellion part 1

Continuing a look at who could be in the Cassian live-action show I want to look at some of the key Rebel characters who appeared in Rogue One.

I think this show could give an extended role to some of the characters who appeared in the film, similar to how Agents of SHIELD gave bigger roles to some supporting MCU characters.

Mon Mothma

Yes!! This is a no-brainer and I’d go so far as to say they shouldn’t make the show without her. I like the idea of seeing a younger, less established Mothma trying to bring the Rebellion together.

General Draven

Another no-brainer, Draven is Cassian’s handler and again it would be interesting to see how he rose through the ranks and became so harsh in his decisions.

Admiral Raddus

Now with Raddus it’s harder. Strictly speaking he wouldn’t necessarily have anything to do with Cassian as he is navy but he is such a great character I’d welcome any way to crowbar him in – plus seeing him in a scene with Ackbar would be amazing!!!

General Merrick

Similar to Ackbar, no real reason for him to interact with Cassian but he was awesome so I wouldn’t complain if he was in!!

Jan Dodonna

My first no. I liked how they included the character but I think they were smart to keep him to a background role. Dodonna had such a distinctive voice and presence that to have someone else play him in a key role would feel wrong.

Bail Organa

My gut says no, but I’m honestly not sure why. I think it depends on how many other characters show up because the show could get saturated. Much like the others it would be cool to see him again but as he isn’t based at Yavin 4 he doesn’t need to be there unless the story dictates it

Pao and Bistan

All you need is a good puppeteer to get these guys back in and their presence brought some much needed alien presence to Yavin 4 so yeah, bring ’em back.

That’ll do for now – more on the Rebels soon!

Who should be in the Cassian Andor Show: Rogue One main cast

 

After hearing the announcement of the Disney+ live action show starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor the main question on everyone’s lips is who else will appear in the show so I’m going to give my take on who could show up, starting with the main cast.

First off K2-SO, who is a popular choice, but I’ve decided on no. I created a video on my YouTube channel about this, which you can watch below

 

OK, so lets get into the rest of the Rogue One crew.

First off for any of these characters to appear as a main character my response is a flat no. The movie makes it seem very strongly that all of these characters are meeting Cassian for the first time over the course of the film, but there is a possibility they could integrate them in other ways and I’ll give my take on them below.

Jyn Erso

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I’m fairly strongly against Jyn appearing, even as a cameo. The two have such a strong connection in the film that it would just be strange for neither of them to admit having met or seen each other before.

Depending on when the show is set, however, I could see her maybe appearing when she was part of Saw’s Partisans. If they didn’t meet face to face it would work, there could be this young brunette in the background or who appears on camera after Cassian has left, appearing in a way that we know who she is but doesn’t have meaningful contact with Cassian.

Bodhi Rook

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Bodhi is actually my number one choice for a cameo. Again a main role just wouldn’t make sense but his role as a pilot for the Empire could make him an easy candidate to show his face, maybe while transporting one of Cassian’s targets to a base, and it would be interesting to see him work for the Empire before Galen gave him the conviction to defect.

Chirrut and Baze

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I really don’t see any way for these two to make it into the show without creating a cringy fan-service moment. I don’t see any believable reason for Cassian to visit Jedha. From what I understand Saw hadn’t been located there that long and the only reason they visited Jedha was for him.

OK that is it for now. I’ll be back soon with some ideas on who from the Rebellion could appear in the show.

Humans season 3: Sluggish Reaction

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Humans continues to deliver moving and gripping drama in it’s third season in what is probably the most relevant Sci-Fi drama on TV right now. It mixes normality – Britain still seems hardly changed apart from the invention of Synths – with an evolving technological future.

The third season is set months from the end of the last, when Mattie’s upload of the base code to save Mia resulted in widespread Synth consciousness. This decision inadvertently caused the deaths of 100,000 people worldwide, mostly through accidents.

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The Government are quick to release and promote the use of ‘orange-eyes’ Synths in an effort to get things back to normal. What’s interesting is that with people’s hate redirected against conscious synths this change largely goes unnoticed. But with large groups of ‘anomalous Synths’  congregating in sheltered communities the Government can’t continue to ignore the issue.

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With this new development each character is pushed in different directions. Joe tries to live a Synth-free life but is drawn back in by a familiar face. Laura is invited to join the commission that will decide the fate of all Synths. Max is the reluctant leader of the Railyard community and deals with the burned of knowing the truth of the origin of consciousness. Mattie tried to move on with her life knowing that she cause the death of thousands. Leo has to accept the fact that he is human and no longer a Synth. Mia tries to promote co-habitation with humans and gains as much support as she does hostility. Niska goes on the greatest journey of all, starting out on a mission of vengeance she ends up being the last hope for Synths and their kind

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Of course, nothing goes smoothly. And a great number of dissident Synths who become militant quickly derail the progress made by those who seek peace. And yet this is so true to life and reflects how disenfranchised people are treated across the globe.

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The series has continued to develop and is more moving than ever. I also respect that they buck the current TV trend and have included less ‘mature’ content as the series progresses which actually allows the drama to mature and grow as it centers around the emotions and growth of each character and the implications of their decisions on a nation.

I think Humans deserves it’s reputation as one of the best shows on TV at the moment and I am really looking forward to the future of the show – even if it does look pretty grim for most of the characters!

Sluggish Reaction: Star Wars Resistance trailer

So the Resistance trailer came out recently and as the fandom all seem to be having their say I thought I’d weigh in too.

The Art Style

I honestly don’t see what the fuss is about with the art style. It looks cartoonish because…it’s a cartoon. I actually think the style is ok, the characters look like people and the ships in particular are nicely detailed. Nothing felt massively jarring to me at all.

Goofy moments

The only thing that put me off was this moment. I didn’t mind the astromech hitting Kaz, it’s just the look on his face is a bit over the top. But I can forgive a few childish moments in a show meant for children.

Kazuda

I quite like the main character. A few people have picked up on him wearing the New Republic emblem so it looks like we might be seeing the very early days of the Resistance. Then again the Resistance was well established before Poe joined so maybe it’s more about Kaz transitioning from NR to Resistance. Either way he’s eager to prove himself and has a lot to learn, which is fruitful ground for a kids show.

The Fighters

As I said the fighters look great. Kaz’s X-Wing/Headhunter looking thing is a nice touch of familiar but different. We get a look at some of the other racing ships and some new First Order fighters so looks like there’ll be enough cool designs to keep me happy. I like the design and setting of the Colossus refueling station too.

The Species

I like that there’s a colourful mix of aliens with at least one alien (a Nikto I think) seeming like a main character. I spotted a Rodian a Gotal and a few other species that look familiar but I can’t remember their names.

We also see what I’m pretty sure is a Gilliand (the female equivalent to Unkar Plutt’s all male Crolute species).

The Plot

This trailer gives hardly anything away so it’s hard to tell what the plot will be. I think it will be an interesting departure from the open war setting of both Clone Wars and Rebels to a setting of outward peace with war bubbling under the surface.

All in all I’m looking forward to it!