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Werthead

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    Social Justice Robot from the Future
  • Birthday 01/22/1979

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  1. There was the flashback episode to Odo and Kira's first meeting just before he's put in charge of security on the Promenade where it's clear that Odo knows she's Resistance and agrees to help her, and does not betray her or the other Resistance fighters to the Cardassians, and they are able to operate on DS9 without Cardassian detection. So effectively Odo was a collaborator with the Resistance, and that's why they trusted him (with some exceptions, and that one horrendous mistake he made which we learn about in the weird semi-time-travel-Odo's-mind episode).
  2. I've seen some clarifications that apparently the original idea was that Pontins had a "blacklist" of specific individuals and families that had come to their parks and caused trouble, damage, had to have the police called, etc, and the name list was to trigger a process where they investigated to see if it was the same individuals. So if you ring up and say your name is Gallagher, you won't be turned down automatically, but it would trigger a process to see if you were the same Gallagher who trashed a park room five years ago (or something). Presumably if you're multimillionaire rock star Noel Gallagher wanting to slum it in Pontins for some reason, you'd be fine. The problem seems to be that doing that this way with a list of Irish names looks massively racist. I also can't see it being very efficient, or effective at achieving that goal.
  3. I do think the problem is that we saw the non-requited romance from Odo's perspective and we never got a handle on Kira's perspective, and Nana Visitor was irate because she felt that the writers didn't know if they wanted Odo and Kira to get together or not and she couldn't play the process until they decided. You can see that in the 20-odd episodes after she finds out Odo's feelings (in Children of Time, when the future Odo effectively commits genocide on her behalf) and before His Way, and the writers were not really committing to one path or another (especially having them resolve their problems from the Dominion occupation off-screen in You Are Cordially Invited). There were a few moments when she did make some acting choices based on the idea that maybe Kira had occasionally thought about Odo in that way. In the episode where Odo has his relationship with the alien intelligence officer and the Ops team hear about it, Kira looks really conflicted, rather than being glad for your friend as you might expect if she wasn't interested at all. I think the reasoning for getting them together was flawed: they had a story conference where they mapped out the end of the show and decided Odo would go back to the Founders, but it was a relatively easy choice to make because, apart from being a bit sad to say goodbye to his friends on the station, he had no real ties there. By giving him the relationship with Kira they made that ending more poignant. Which is fine as far as it goes, but it perhaps should have been part of a clearer plan. I would say that once they did commit to the relationship, the actors did a pretty good job of selling it but it took a while to get there.
  4. The worst episode of DS9 is clearly Profit and Lace. It's sexist, misogynistic and somewhat transphobic, and makes Quark a really horrible character in a badly contrived way, like the six seasons of character development hadn't happened by that point. Let He Who is Without Sin... (the Risa vacation episode) and The Muse (succubus) are very weak as well. There's the one where Bashir starts aging rapidly and it's all a weird fantasy in his own mind or something was also awful. His Way, the Kira/Odo episode where they finally hook up? It's not great (and I remain ambivalent on if their relationship with the best idea) but I don't think it's on the same level as some of the other episodes. Ira Behr was a huge Vegas fan and if he wanted in to indulge that in a few episodes, I didn't have a problem with that. One of the benefits of having 26 episodes a year is that you can throw in a few indulgent things and it's not too much of a problem. I'd also watch Jimmy Darren in anything. Very charismatic guy (and the fact he was William Shatner's sidekick in TJ Hooker is a nice bit of synchronicity).
  5. The developers of Hogwarts Legacy have apparently put the ability to create a transgender character in the current build of the character creator in the game. Interesting to see if this survives to the final release version or if anyone involved in the project or licencing tries to have it removed.
  6. It's made me move up Shogun 2: Total War up the to-play (well, to-replay list) list, for certain.
  7. I was encountering a bit of this so hit on the idea of turning it into Baldur's Gate: I remapped pause to space and played it as a real-time with pause game (you can still give orders to units whilst the game is paused). This makes the start of each mission, where it's often crucial to get an economy up and running ASAP, a bit easier. I was also struggling a bit until I remembered that the most important building in AoE2 is the Market, which allows you to swap resources, so it means you can heavily invest in one or two resources (usually food and wood to start with) and still be able to pick up the others (gold and stone) through exchanges. Although that only works for a while until you flood the market and food and wood become almost worthless. It's still something of an awkward game to get to grips with, mainly because your military is so shockingly shit until you get high-tier units or maximum upgrades (archers, who are crap at the start, abruptly turn into arbalasters, who are unstoppable killing machines when given the "always hit their target" and fire arrow upgrades), which makes economic development really important, which is great but eats into your military prep time.
  8. As far as can be told, Grammer was a reluctant Trump-voter, at best (he first supported Ben Carson), and never a full-throated supporter. He's anti-abortion (but that's extended only as far as wearing a T-shirt) but pro-gay marriage, a climate change sceptic, a Vladimir Putin fan and apparently supported the Tea Party but "only on economic issues". No signs he's a Qanonster or an election conspiracy theorist. No sign of an imminent meltdown. I think he got that out of his system with his substance abuse problems.
  9. I'm still knee-deep in the original and Conquerors campaigns (I've completed the Scottish and Frankish campaigns, done half the Mongol campaigns but hit a massive difficulty spike and am now on the last Saracen mission) so no idea at this point.
  10. The "definitive edition" of Age of Empires II I have to say is far, far better than the one for the original game. The original was bugged to fuckery - nothing like taking 30 men to attack an enemy town only for 10 of them to suddenly merge into a gibbering mass of limbs that can't do anything other than die - but AoE2 is much more stable, and genuinely improves over the original game with better QOL, AI and UI improvements whilst keeping the core gameplay intact. I wonder if they could port the AoE1 campaigns into the AoE2 engine, that'd improve things a lot (AoE1 has a whole bunch of bullshit issues in the base game as well, like no way of assigning unit formations). The definitive edition also has a bonkers amount of content. It has the original campaign, The Conquerors expansion and the three expansions from the previous HD edition of the game (The Forgotten Empires, The African Kingdoms and Rise of the Rajas), plus a brand new expansion, The Last Khans. That's 24 campaigns altogether, totalling 136 single-player missions spread over 35 civilisations. The later expansions go wild, with maps four times larger than the very largest maps from the original game and a unit cap of 500 (the base unit cap in the original game was 200). That's not even scraping the hundreds upon hundreds of maps for skirmish and multiplayer. There's also a paid new expansion which was just released, Lord of the West, which must be some kind of record for new paid material being released for an existing game (22 years), which adds 3 new campaigns, 16 missions and 2 new civilisations. Bonkers.
  11. In The Coming of Shadows and they they restaged the shot for The Hour of the Wolf, though they did use some of the same shots from the former.
  12. Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan is a solid pop-history on Netflix, about the end of Sengoku-era Japan. It's a bit cheesy and melodramatic, but for an introduction to the period it's reasonable. Polishing off the Netflix-MCU shows. The Punisher's second season was very solid, but I'm finding Jessica Jones' third season a bit of a soulless grind. Netflix UK was pushing a show called Superstore very heavily, which I assumed was an original, and was surprised to find out was actually an NBC sitcom that had already run for five seasons. Highly enjoyable; the pitch seems to be The Office in Wal-Mart (Asda for those of a UK persuasion) and if it's not as good as The Office at the very top of its game, it's vastly superior to The Office at the weaker end of its range. It's extremely consistent as well. It finds its feet about only about 2-3 episodes, and then gradually increases its quality until about Season 3 and seems to have held it there so far. I spent a time working in retail so the show is extremely relatable, though the problems faced by American workers (healthcare and union-busting) seem quite nightmarish in comparison. The only odd thing about it is that Netflix made a big song and dance about acquiring it with the final season still to air, and apparently they can't air it until 2022. It would seem to have been more logical to wait until next year before airing the whole thing, but okay.
  13. The flipside of having lots of night shoots is that you don't have as much day shoots, so the actors should be around for the same amount of time. It's like working shifts. Buffy had advantages as well in that they put a lot of their locations near the studios (the entrance to the Bronze was literally the exterior of the soundstage) so I'm not sure why their shoots were so insane. The makeup requirements were nowhere near as onerous as they were for Trek or Babylon 5 (and Optic Nerve already had tons of experience with the latter) apart from the odd very heavy episode (like Hush with the Gentlemen, or scenes with the Master or Giles-as-a-Demon) and the costumes were almost all off the shelf. They also did cheat for some of the filming. A lot of interior night scenes (in the library or Buffy's house) were filmed during the day and filtered and lit for night. In fact, they even did that for some exterior shooting (the woeful HD version of the show failed to replicate some of the filters, so you occasionally have shots of Angel sitting in Buffy's bedroom in what is clearly daylight for no apparent reason, leaving the house and suddenly it's night). The only thing I can think of is that the show as badly organised. Whedon noted that in an interview, saying there was a lot of dicking around on set which he didn't clamp down on as should have (and from this new report it sounds like he may have encouraged it). The main thing was pre-planning. On B5 they had scripts finished and ready to go 4-5 weeks ahead of time, so they knew exactly what was going on, and sometimes were building set-pieces for 3 episodes down the road, ready to be assembled the second shooting on the current set space ended. It helped that 90% of the show took place on the station, so new set pieces weren't really needed, and they only did two location shoots on the entire series (for Londo watching the Shadow ships flying overhead), both filmed in the studio car park. Most network shows had scripts sometimes being written whilst the episode was being filmed, certainly rarely fully ready a less than a week before shooting, and that meant sometimes having to scramble to fulfil casting, set and location requirements. They also literally shut the studio down at closing time, so if stuff wasn't filmed, tough, although that only got them into trouble once I think (when Nu-Kosh's encounter suit refused to explode and no-one wanted to touch it to find out why, causing an argument, so they did it - badly - in CG instead).
  14. I was lukewarm on Baldur's Gate III until they introduced the Druid class and confirmed you can play 90% or more of the game as a giant badger. Now will be keeping a closer eye on it (you can also turn into a polar bear, but frankly the badger is where it is at). Ha. The next Axis and Allies video game - which massively streamlines this stuff - is pretty good as well, and I've always respected how it nailed the economic/military balance of WWII in a mind-bogglingly simple way. I spent some time with Hearts of Iron and respected what it was trying to do, but the "it'll take 200 hours of not knowing WTF is going on before you start to understand the game's systems" attitude got a bit grating after a while. The Steel Division series was great for having a lot more complexity than your standard strategy game whilst also being very playable and it being relatively quick to get to grips with, and the level of detail you wanted to engage in was extremely scalable, so on some missions you can command individual companies and on others you're guiding entire divisions advancing along a 100-mile front. All of the maps being based on the actual WWII aerial photography was also amazing (modern games tend to be based on modern satellite data, sometimes where the rivers have changed courses dramatically and with features that didn't exist back then).
  15. It sounds like Joss Whedon started very hands-on but during Season 3 (when Angel was in pre-production) he moved to more of an oversight position like Rick Berman on Star Trek: he was juggling three shows simultaneously but he had sub-showrunners below him, like Berman had Michael Pillar, Ira Steven Behr and Jeri Taylor running shows under his watch. Whedon was more involved than that, as he did step in to directly write and direct episodes on each show, but he was split between them, and probably went weeks or longer without being on-set for each of the shows, which made it easier for the people who didn't like him to avoid him. One guess with the Michelle Trachtenberg thing is that, based on the "funny song" Marsters wrote about her (possibly egged on by Whedon), there was some "when is she legal?" kind of humour (reminiscent of The Sun tabloid in the UK having a countdown to whenever a young actress is about to turn 16) going on there. Sarah Michelle Gellar's attitude I think is well-known, and was actually pretty well-known at the time. She didn't do much publicity for the show when it was on the air, and I remember dozens of big articles in various magazines and on websites where virtually the whole cast was there but SMG wasn't, and the few times it was raised it was said because she was usually in way more scenes than everyone else and also did a lot of physical training when not filming, she was exhausted most of the time and didn't have time for PR activities. Interestingly, once the show ended she does seem to have actually made friends with some of the other castmembers and done a few more joint appearances (and, not once, has she done an appearance with Whedon; the 20th anniversary reunion stuff in 2017 had Whedon being interviewed separately from the castmembers) than she did when they were actually making it. I have seen some suggesting the article is apologising for Whedon (the author is a known friend of Whedon's, which makes him a questionable choice to write the article), but the article doesn't hold back on saying that Whedon's behaviour was inappropriate and he was an arsehole, and the "mitigating circumstances" were simply the stresses any ongoing network TV show had to deal with, most of which didn't have bullying or toxic drama.
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