I finished Clone Wars and The Expanse. Clone Wars ending was quite sombre but I already knew it would be since it lines up with the third prequel. I enjoyed Clone Wars a lot more than I expected to. I hope that we get to see more of Ahsoka. I think I’d rather see an Ahsoka series than the Boba Fett and Obi Wan series that they are also supposedly making.
The Expanse was… ehhhh. Something actually happened in the finale, so that was an improvement over the previous 5 episodes. But it seemed like it was a set up for S6. I hope it’s better than S5! S5 is by far the weakest season so far.
I’ve started watching Man In The High Castle. I’m only two episodes in so far but it seems very good, if incredibly bleak. It’s set in an alternate history 1960s America where Germany and Japan won WW2 and occupied and divided up America. I think the logistical improbability of this has been hand-waved away by saying that Germany won the race to the atomic bomb. Anyway…. I really like Rufus Sewell as a.. err… gestapo? officer. He plays a very intelligent and very scary man.
I don’t know what else to watch though…
I have heard good things about The Orville but I don’t think it’s on any of the streaming services I have. Star Trek Lower Decks might be good too. I keep thinking about watching S3 of Star Trek Discovery but I’m not sure I can face another 10 hours watching Michael Burnham being serious and dramatic.
Unfortunately, all the TV programs I’m watching are going to end at pretty much the same time. Not through any planning on my part, I’m currently two episodes away from the end of Battlestar Galactica, The Expanse and Clone Wars!
I suppose after Clone Wars there’s Rebels (low expectations) and Bad Batch (high expectations, but not many episodes). I have quite enjoyed Clone Wars. For something that started off as a children’s show, it hits pretty hard in places. And now we’re so close to the end, they writers and producers really upped their game.
I wish I could say the same for BSG and The Expanse. I loved the first four seasons of The Expanse. The fifth, though, has lacked focus. Now I’m two episodes from the end and it’s still meandering without strong plotlines or plot development in general. I thought the 8th episode was particularly bad. Someone on Reddit mentioned that Naomi’s scenes occupied 40% of the runtime for the episode. I don’t mind Naomi, but her on her own running up and down a spaceship over and over again hardly makes for compelling viewing. It feels like Naomi’s plot is the only one that has been fleshed out this season, which is a shame, because it’s just not that interesting. In fact, Naomi is probably the least interesting character of the main cast. The plot with the Martian espionage that Bobby was following at the beginning of the season was classic Expanse, but it’s taken a back seat to the soap opera of Naomi’s family.
I don’t find Marco Inaros a particularly exciting villain. It seems like there are strong parallels to 9/11, but would Bin Laden have made for an interesting fictional villain? He spent 10 years in hiding because he spent all his power on one big but ultimately tactically stupid move. I get the same feelings from Marco. Okay, you did something big, but it was just one event and now you’re on borrowed time.
Battlestar is the same. I just watched ‘Daybreak Part 1’, which is the first of the last three episodes. I think actually it was originally broadcast as two episodes, but iPlayer has split it into three.
I can’t believe how boring it’s become. The last few episodes have been so slow. I thought with it being so close to the end that it would suddenly pick up, but even now on what was broadcast as the penultimate episode, it just feels like a big “so what?”. Half the episode was taken up by flashbacks to before the start of the series. Why are we being told at this late point that Laura Roslin had two sisters who were killed in a car crash? If you wanted to make this part of her character, you should have done it about 70 episodes ago.. Recent episodes also include “Starbuck learns to play the piano” and “let’s spend an hour watching characters give lectures to each other about the mythology of BSG”. I hope it ends well, but there’s barely been any plot development for a long time.
So I ran again today. I got a bit more adventurous and did a 5k along the canal. When I stopped the abs were definitely not right and I got kind of depressed about it, but something just clicked in my mind and so this evening I sent out a few enquiries to private physiotherapists and felt a lot happier. Two are near work and two near home. I don’t know why I’d never considered this before.
Strangely, it actually feels better now than it did yesterday. I’m going to keep running for a few days so I can assess how it really is.
In other news, I started making my train commutes home more enjoyable, by reading! I am currently reading Book 3 of The Expanse books. I read the first two last Christmas and was engrossed in them even though I’d seen the TV program and knew the story. The second diverged a little from the TV program in that it had an extra character and minor story arc for that character which wasn’t shown on TV. The third book has already introduced a lot more characters than were on TV, but I think they might have been amalgamated into Drummer, who hasn’t yet turned up.
I’m really trying hard to keep doing things that are better for my mental health than sitting around looking at the internet for 25 minutes. The internet is entertaining but it’s also boring. You keep clicking things hoping to find a dopamine hit, waiting for the next thing to pop up and entertain you. I’m pretty sure that’s bad for my anxiety.
Sooo… the weekend. My sister started an Amazon prime trial a few days ago, so we have been watching a few things.
Firstly: Good Omens. I read the book years ago. I don’t remember much about it other than I really enjoyed it. Having watched the first two episodes, little of the story has come back to me, but it’s very well done. I was a bit hesitant because I didn’t feel the Discworld TV adaptations ever really captured the magic of Terry Pratchett, but Good Omens has the advantage of being a standalone book without a vast amount of lore that needs to be somehow translated to the screen.
Secondly: The Expanse season 4 episode 1: Ooh ooh ooh. I really, really loved the first three seasons of Expanse. I watched them around this time last year, when my world was an extremely dark place, and a few of those memories have resurfaced, unsurprisingly, but OK… It completely gripped me and I felt it was extremely well done. It reminded me a lot of Babylon 5 in the quality of the writing. There’s a lot going on and the characters are complex and interesting.
The first episode of S4 is a bit bewildering, but so was S1 and I’m sure it’s laying a lot of groundwork that will be rewarded later. I am a bit concerned some of the characters will lose depth though – Amos and Avasarala specifically – in the same way that Tilly in Star Trek Discovery S2 became a bit of a parody of Tilly from S1. We shall see.
In related news, I was stoked a few days ago when they released the full version of the Belter version of Highway Star (which played during the slingshot scene in S2, or was it S3?). The fact they re-did the lyrics in Belter pidgin is fascinating, though it’s a contrast against the very faithful instrumentation. That’s even a single coil pick up on the guitar, isn’t it?
Thirdly: The Death of Stalin. This is a black comedy. With the emphasis on the black part. This is one of those films I watch and I think “why am I watching this?”. Then I get to the end and think “why did I watch that?”. I didn’t enjoy it. It’s hard to articulate why, but I think it comes down to it being two things in one. Firstly it’s an absurd comedy presented as being serious. Airplane with murderous communists, if you like. Secondly, it’s quite an intense political drama. It doesn’t work for me, because the intensity of the politics is so high that it makes the absurdity seem in poor taste, and the political drama is hard to take seriously when it’s offset against such absurdity. A lot of people liked it though. It seems to be a cult thing. But I think it’s one of the worst films I’ve watched start to finish.
Running: Sadly, my abs are still causing me trouble. I don’t get it. It seems very volatile. I was doing OK this past week, but I’m feeling it today after a very gentle run. I sneezed during the run a few times and oh my god I felt that. I got home and did some bicycles; the first set was quite uncomfortable, but the second set was fine. Explain that.
I think I’ll just have to take some time off, but how effective that will be I’m not sure – it got worse when I started my new job and didn’t run for a week (the muscles tightened up, probably), so it’s hard to know what I should be doing. Maybe I’ll dust off the free weights and start doing some squats and stuff again. I think I must have some kind of muscle imbalance and the compound exercises should sort that out, hopefully.
I am at the doctor on Christmas eve so if it’s still causing me trouble I will mention it.