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Everything posted by Werthead

  1. Werthead

    UK Politics: Awaiting MV3

    Some of the press reporting that - bizarrely - May might be holding on to power until at least next week so she can beat Gordon Brown's time in office and thus avoid being the shortest-serving Prime Minister this century (so far). By avoiding a big confrontation tonight, the Tory backbenchers will either have to change the rules and hold a vote tomorrow - but a lot of MPs won't be in town for it - or hold off potentially until 4 June after recess.
  2. Huh? Oh, the American version. Yes, that was dogshit, but the show had been pretty much crap since Season 2. The original British series had an absolutely fantastic ending. There's a lesson here in not taking a 12-episode show and extending the same story across (checks Wiki) 73? Fucking hell.
  3. Werthead

    Video Games: Devils Die Twice

    The Total War one is pretty good, although it's based on Medieval II so a somewhat older game. Still excellent.
  4. Werthead

    Formula One 2019

    The new season starts this weekend. Things look tasty from testing, where it appeared (as much as anything can be inferred from testing) that Ferrari are starting off ahead of Mercedes like last year, but by a larger margin; Red Bull seem to have made some gains with Honda but still off the front two teams; Renault have closed up to the top three, but not as much as they'd like and McLaren have made some improvements and are now firmly in the mid-grid with everyone else. The only really bad news comes from Williams, whose car is apparently slower than last year's, which is insane. Could be a tough, lonely season for them if they can't bring some massive upgrades to the table. Sad news that Charlie Whiting, the F1 race director, has passed away at only 66. It's remarkable that he had the toughest job to do in the sport - running each race weekend, dishing out penalties etc - but also retained the respect of the drivers and teams. His replacement will have some massive shoes to fill. Netflix have a genuinely great documentary series, Formula One: Drive to Survive, which, despite the awful title, delves into the 2018 season in a huge amount of detail and with unprecedented access. You find out that everyone swears a lot more than you'd think, and some of the behind-the-scenes dealing is eye-opening. In particular, the bitching and sniping between Renault and Red Bull is impressive to behold. I think the goal of the series is to get Americans more interested in the sport, so less focus on the technical details and more on the drivers, the teams, the personalities and the on-track battles (which tend to make the sport look more exciting than perhaps it really is, but okay).
  5. Calgar's Siege by Paul Kearney
  6. Unfortunately there was a bit of a mix-up of The Windscale Incident. Paul agreed to write a series of novellas for an upcoming video game and they publicised it as a novel. They're straightening that out. The game seems to have been delayed as well, so the timescale for anything appearing related to that project is currently up in the air.
  7. With Lost they spent a lot of time asking that question in the writers' room and came up for 4-5 possibilities. But once they went past a certain point, they realised that answering that question would be a stupid idea, as it would just alienate a chunk of the viewers and whichever answer they went for, it'd be hokey as hell (I get the impression the options were things like an alien spacecraft, a protrusion into our reality of another dimension or possibly a remnant of the Biblical Eden), so the answer was just not to go there and say the Island was exactly what it appeared to be: an island with really weird properties and that was kind of it. The only other issue Lost I think really had was explaining what the Numbers were in spin-off media that 99% of the viewers had no knowledge of. Beyond that, I've never really seen what massive unanswered mysteries there were. I got into a discussion with this with someone at my last job and they angrily said, "They never explained where the polar bears came from!", which is where I think I lost my last vestiges of faith in humanity.
  8. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
  9. First two episodes aired here last night and they were excellent. Kayvan Novack and Matt Berry have been fantastically talented comedy actors here for at least ten years, so it's great to see them both getting traction in the States at last.
  10. Buffy, Angel, Blake's 7, Quantum Leap, Star Trek: TNG and DS9, Babylon 5, Orphan Black, Avatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra, Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes, Parks & Recreation, The Office (the original one) and Cowboy Bebop all had good to excellent endings. BSG's ending was thematically nonsensical, fitting a show that often used cool imagery but didn't know what it was trying to say (this really was a major issue from Season 3 onwards). Some good stuff in the finale, great acting, a solid final battle etc, but really the bizarrely Luddite ending itself was dogshit. Lost's finale was okay. The problem was more the entire Season 6 "flash-sideways/temporally-dislocated afterlife" stuff which was presented and executed badly. There's actually a fan edit which removes the entire storyline from the season which works quite well. The actual on-Island storyline was fine and the show ended reasonably well. Far more amusing is the phenomenon (still on full display to this day) of people asking why questions were never answered, when those questions were answered on the show as early as Season 1.
  11. Werthead

    His Dark Materials Series

    1) and 2) may be possible (especially with Lyra turning 20 in The Secret Commonwealth, and Dafne Keen might be around that when they get to it) but I think 3) is not the case. Season 2 has not started filming yet.
  12. Werthead

    UK Politics: Awaiting MV3

    This is a timely story, given recent discussions: a UK thinktank which has donated significantly to the Conservative Party and has Tory members and speakers at its even, is being bankrolled by an American Big Tobacco firm which has recommended that the NHS be disbanded and replaced by an American model (which works so well). Dominic Raab and health secretary Matt Hancock both have close ties with the organisation, the latter particularly so.
  13. Werthead

    His Dark Materials Series

    New trailer! First look at the armoured bears and the daemons.
  14. Werthead

    Watch, Watched, Watching: Getting Sneaky

    What We Do in the Shadows (the TV show) hits the UK and Ireland on Sunday, BBC2 at 9.45pm, for those who've been waiting for it.
  15. The show lands in the UK and Ireland on Sunday, 9.45pm on BBC2.
  16. Werthead

    UK Politics: Awaiting MV3

    I put it down to the combination of social media and smartphones. Prior to about 2007, there were plenty of morons on the Internet but then numbers were kept in check by access: you needed to buy a computer, buy an Internet connection, physically fire it up, join up on forums etc. It was all a bit laborious for a lot of people. The global release of Facebook in 2007, paired with the arrival of smartphones shortly afterwards, allowed people to join up with just one (or two, with Twitter) login. People who were bigots or racists or anti-semites or anti-vaxxers or flat Earthers or Holocaust deniers, who never spouted off about such things in real life because they knew they'd be laughed out of the room, then found other like-minded people and came to believe their views were widespread, and that enabled and and emboldened them to take those beliefs in a more mainstream direction. It's all rather depressing and I'm not sure what can be done about it. If people are sharing and saying idiotic stuff that can be disproven by a 5-second Google search and can't even do that, I don't see much hope for making discussion more reasonable.
  17. Werthead

    UK Politics: Awaiting MV3

    The fact that Banks is funding Farage is interesting, because Banks has made his money in the insurance sector and he wants the NHS to be privatised, which puts Farage's comments about private insurance in a different light. It the EU debate has been useful for anything for the last forty years, it's been keeping the hard right of the Conservative Party (and politicians in general) away from the NHS. Once Brexit is done, that will become their top priority and they're already loading their cannons for that fight.
  18. I suspect he is consulting on LotR but ultimately might have his own show in development. It will be interesting to see if that is a totally original show, or if it will be another book adaptation, and if GRRM might have sent him some ideas on what books to look at.
  19. Werthead

    Video Games: Devils Die Twice

    Video game reviewers will review a multiplatform game on multiple formats, but will tend to prioritise the version that is expected to sell most initially, which is usually PS4, because there are far more PS4s out there than X-Box Ones and maybe more PS4 Pros than PCs capable of running the game as well as a PS4 Pro, although there will generally by far more PCs out there capable of running the game overall, at a slightly lower level of detail. So the bulk of initial release sales will be on PS4, so reviewers prioritise that format above everything else, although in the long run the PC version may end up being the biggest-selling (which is usually the case, but in some cases it can take many, many years of sales and relatively low profits).
  20. Werthead

    All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

    Her first novel was Choir Boy (2005), a mainstream novel about gender roles and identity. Her third is an outright SF novel, The City in the Middle of the Night, which came out a few weeks ago. She also has a short story collection, Six Months, Three Days, Five Others. Worth noting that All the Birds in the Sky won the Nebula and Locus Awards for Best Novel in the year it came out, and was nominated for the Hugo.
  21. Werthead

    Star Wars Thread: Don't Get Cocky

    I'm not sure about that. Both Lost and BSG seem by near-consensus to have very poor endings, but both Damon Lindelof and Ronald D. Moore have still gotten gainful employment in other venues, and the long-term popularity of both shows, although dimmed by the endings, doesn't seem to have suffered too badly (Lost rather more than BSG, despite BSG's ending being far more of a shitstorm).
  22. Werthead

    International thread 2

    Yes, but Iran's nuclear ambition had been stymied by the deal. Now the deal is toast, Iran is more likely to try to get nukes. It's a bit like trying to avoid contracting lung cancer by doubling your smoking intake.
  23. Werthead

    International thread 2

    Fair play, but what is the endgame? Iran is a huge country, over three times the size of Iraq with more than twice the population. It has more varied and challenging terrain and the country hasn't been militarily starved into the ground by decades of sanctions. Cracking Iran is a far, far more difficult task than Iraq. You'd need, conservatively, half a million US troops on the ground before you could even seriously think about conquering Iran. Bombing it back into the stone age, sure. But to what end? That doesn't guarantee regime change and may trigger reprisal missile strikes on Israel and Saudi Arabia, US bases in the region, and a ground incursion into Iraq as a possible prelude to an attack on Saudi Arabia. Iran would also close the Straits of Hormuz, spiking global oil prices, and could mount amphibious operations and missile strikes on the UAE. In any major, long-term conflict, the US and its allies would of course prevail but the cost in money and lives would be astronomical, and further destabilise the region for decades to come. Not to mention, what happens tomorrow if Russian forces start arriving in Iran as "advisors" to help out the Iranian security forces (they already reportedly have some at Iran's nuclear power stations)? Does the US upset that apple cart as well? I can't see any coherent political or military strategy at work here.