Hellstar Reminism

So I got a philosophy for the end of the world inspired by a Junji Ito comic, Hellstar Remina, in some translations just the less fun Remina.  I’ve still never read the comic in English, so it’s based on my visual read of the story.  I’ll soon check out the translation to see what I’ve missed.  At that time, this idea may face some revision.  By the way, all of the spoilers for Hellstar Remina now, because it’s necessary to explaining the moral lesson I take from it.

Like a number of Junji Ito’s horror manga, Hellstar Remina depicts an apocalypse.  The planet Earth and most of its inhabitants don’t get through the story alive.  But this one was especially interesting to me because it shows different ways to respond to a species-level existential threat.  As a storyteller, Ito has long held an interesting tension between humanism and misanthropy – something shared with filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa.  I wonder if this is just an attitude some dark-minded Japanese folks have and a known thing there, or if it’s just something anybody in the world might develop at random.

Basically, the way humans can be quite horrible is displayed unvarnished, or even exaggerated, but compassion and sometimes progressive values come through in other characters within the same story.  This isn’t always as simple as good guys over here, bad guys over there.  People start good, go bad, come back, do it again.  Usually you understand why the bad do what they do – see them as human, even when they end up as literal monsters.  Hard to describe, not always the same.  This might be getting off topic, because good and evil are a little more straightforward in this story than the extended canon of Tomie or Uzumaki.  Whatever, moving on…

The plot.  A scientist announces the discovery of a very abnormal new star in the night sky, with his daughter at the press conference.  I believe he named the star after her, causing an association in the public imagination between the girl and the star.  But pretty quickly, the star is revealed to be a possible threat to the Earth – heading toward it at incredible speed.  Is it a star?  Meanwhile, this doesn’t seem to be public knowledge yet, and Remina the girl has developed a fan club.  In particular she has three suitors.  One is a rich kid that shows her to his cool expensive fallout shelter.  But they seem to do a passable job of not monopolizing her affections yet.

The threat of the hellstar becomes apparent to the public and civic unrest menaces the scientist and his daughter.  Her fan club saves her, for the moment, but she’s separated from her father.  When the star slows down to stick out a giant tongue and gobble up another planet in the solar system, the people of the world go bonkers and come for girl Remina’s blood.  They kill the a couple of fan club guys and torture her for a bit.  Her father is killed.

The fanboys help her escape but they fall to infighting.  Seems they got a touch of the same craze as the rest of the world.  One of them has the sense of self to feel ashamed and leaves, but he didn’t have the presence of mind to realize that he left her undefended with the worse guy.  (He shows up later as just another murderer.)  Worse guy is the rich kid, and he hauls her back to the fancy shelter.  He tries to force himself on her, but his parents object.  They just want her dead like the rest of the world.  Mom slaps her around, then the fam drag her out to the crowd.

The story splits here between rich family and Remina.  Rich family theorizes that if they go to live on the Hellstar like fleas, it won’t notice them and destroy them like the rest of the world, so they pack up in a rocket ship and skate.  Back on earth, girl Remina is taken by the people of Earth, who have united in a massive doomsday cult, led by KKK-lookin’ creeps with torches.  She escapes them briefly, running into a solitary homeless man who has no idea what’s going on.  The two of them are tied to either side of the same cross that carries the burned remains of her father.

In space, the rich family set foot on the Hellstar and transform into melty piles of twisted bullshit.  HS Remina opens a second eyeball and licks the Earth.  This causes gravity to go haywire.  The cultists had set a pyre beneath girl Remina’s cross, but the cross gets lifted away.  A cultist cuts Remina loose to abscond with her.  The gravity of the Hellstar and Earth are dueling, which has people able to leap around like they have super strength.  Don’t get at me on the physics of this.  The cultist grabs Remina by the legs and smashes her against the sides of a broken building, like trying to dust a rug.

But he cut the homeless guy loose when he snatched Remina, and that guy comes to save her with roundhouse kicks and such.  Together they flee the cultists.  But as they’ve gotten used to the crazy light gravity, so have the cultists, and now they are being chased by what seems like everybody in the world, all crying for her blood in different languages, wielding any weapon they can find.  They’re flying through the air in a massive swarm.

Gravity shifts again.  The homeless guy and Remina seem to luck out, while the rest of humanity is dashed to the ground, creating an ocean of blood.  Girl Remina blacks out and wakes up in the fancy shelter.  The homeless guy and a few random non-murderer kids found their way into the shelter, and as Hellstar Remina devoured the earth, somehow the shelter was one of the crumbs that broke free to hurtle lonesome through space.  People are surprisingly celebratory about this.

Why are they happy?  They got away from however many billion murderers, and a planet that was just munched like popcorn.  But the room surely doesn’t have the resources to sustain their lives forever.  They’re surely going to die.  And that could well be all of us.  The story ends there.  What do you take from that?

I say, if everybody in the world is doing bad shit, be the one person who isn’t.  If we’re all gonna die, be kind to the people you are with, right to the end.  Ruin is living for hate, the only goodness possible in life is what we make by being kind in the ways we can, in the time we have.  Something like that.  Hellstar Reminism.

One could easily take different lessons from the story, perhaps worse ones.  And maybe there are explicit textual things I cannot understand from reading the comic book by image alone.  I’ll find out soon enough, which is why I’m spelling out this philosophy now before it gets altered by improved understanding of the source.  So there you go.

How Horror Fiction Has Fallen

So no bites on reading the stories I’ve posted lately, alright.  There could be a variety of reasons for that and not much point speculating and self doubting, but it did put me in mind of cultural shift that happened in my lifetime.  Horror fiction rose to become a giant market in the eighties, then collapsed so utterly there is no longer a horror section in most book stores.

I sometimes encounter this with people I know.  I say, hey, check out this thing over here.  And they say they aren’t into horror.  This makes me wonder what’s different, between now and the ’80s.  Because right now we really are living the cyberpunk dystopia the ’80s predicted, a world of trash and fire and capitalism ripping through everything left that’s good in the world, politics so removed from reality that every apocalyptic thing that happens is just so many data points in the botox’d heads.  Even nuclear holocausts are back on the table of possibilities.  This is the ’80s on speed.  Where’s the interest in horror?

The ascendance of horror back then is often attributed to the dark undertones of the plastic pop universe, but other causes are possible.  The relatively uncensored images of the Vietnam War stained a lot of minds, and our equivalent wars were heavily, heavily filtered.  Desert Storm is a video game and a theme song in a lot of minds.  You could find images of graphic violence from that time if you searched for them, but you would not see them on the evening news.  The military industrial complex learned its lesson, and the reward was a US public very willing to go to war after that point.

There may be other demographic and market factors.  Westerns and other manly genres had a big collapse, almost like men just stopped reading anything?  That’s certainly the case now.  The vast majority of readers are women.  By that theory, it’s like men stopped reading until horror briefly lured them back in, then they fell off again in the late nineties – right as video games became so dominant in boy culture.

One person in my household read horror in the ’80s, but does not now.  She gives a reason which is just counterfactual – that the books got more cruel or violent over time.  She read Stephen King when he was relatively new, and talks like his later work was more violent?  Dude was as skeevy and creepy as anything from day one.  I think this lady’s just one of the blithe readers that somehow didn’t process the pedo content in It.  So I interrogated her a bit more and it seems she just read less of it for a while and lost her tolerance for it.  But why?

Within my own life, I couldn’t handle certain extremes of horror movies for much of my young adulthood, until I rounded some kind of corner on it.  Then I was watching Hellraiser and Dawn of the Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre and all that.  But another change came along.  Inspired by Takashi Miike, Eli Roth kicked up the transgressive factor in horror a lot, and I had to draw a line of my own.  I’m not that hardcore.  This mirrors my bf’s mom’s idea about what happened in her own life – “I didn’t change, the horror did” – but I think people can see the difference between The Grudge and The Human Centipede.  Amirite?

But horror literature is a whole other kettle of fish.  Unless your imagination is superb, you aren’t seeing things the way you do on film.  I could read much more violent content in books than I could handle on screen.  I can write horror worse than I’d ever want to see, and it doesn’t bother me.  It’s all entertainment, diversion, spooky fun times.  A spine tingler.

Why are so many people utterly uninterested in horror?  I had a kind of lousy friend who wouldn’t check out me or my bf’s stuff when it was just gothy, not actually involving any horror whatsoever.  Weenies.  Seems like 99% of all reading that happened 2000-2005 was the terf’s kiddie books, and the people who grew up on that never wanted anything substantially different from it.  Or maybe I’m just being a hater.  I don’t know.

This is mainly looking at fiction for adults.  There actually is a lot of horror content now – short fiction, tons of video games, especially in indie spaces – but booksellers don’t want to touch it.  And on a possibly unrelated note, I run into a lot of massive weenies.  Hi weenies.  I’m sure you’re lovely people and make the world a brighter place in your own ways.  Just wish I met more non-weenies sometimes.

Music Questions and Groovy Ghouls

I hope this video plays on other sites and in most countries. If you can, take in this visual and auditory information, then consult with me when you have finished your assignment.

OK, to be honest, I have nothing profound to say about this. I pick up this and that, trivial info, from random curiosities and wikipedia, but the answers are often lacking. You can never really know what it was like to be there. So I’m still left with a few questions.

The lead singer of the Mary Jane Girls was a protégé & / or collaborator with Rick James, and I think the only actual MJ Girl on the recorded track. The other girls were stand-ins for tours, promotion, image. I expect on tour they’d just lip synch at most concerts, so they didn’t even need singing skills. Probably they were dancers first. But did they sing? I know sometimes singers would try to do the whole package as performers, sometimes with tragic results (I’m thinking of a breathless sweaty Paula Abdul performance on MTV Music Awards from long ago). How singin’ were the non-recorded Mary Jane Girls?

The lead MJG was a singer first and a dancer / performer second, right? I think it’s funny to imagine she just danced how she felt and the dancing girls had to try to coordinate to that. Try to keep up girls. Probably not, but who knows?

Other random thought, why is the white girl in a skeleton costume? I do think the combination of light eyes, blonde hair, and heavy makeup evokes the doll-look possession in the first Evil Dead movie, so she’s kinda ghoulish. I know cocaine was huge in this scene, which creates a strong association between the color white and death, but surely that’s my own projection. It’s just weird that one of them had a ghoul outfit and the rest didn’t. The song does have a spoopy vibe, anyway.

Still from Evil Dead (1979)

I rather like eighties funk, though I’m no expert on it. I feel like it lost something in the transition from the seventies, like feeling and soul, and then replaced that with this cold alien drug vibe that has a different and perverse kind of appeal. What do you think?

Songs I’m Liking

Some days I get horrible mashups of bad songs in my head, most recently from watching Todd in the Shadows‘ “One Hit Wonderland” series on yewchoob.  Today I’m doing OK.  Did you know that the milieu of Tenacious D’s demons and broadswords universe was once a real place, inhabited by people like Ronny James Dio and Judas Priest?  Anyway, Judas Priest’s The Sentinel features a demonic revenant doing a throwing knife massacre.  I love it.

Also on my mind is Prince’s Kiss.  Neil Cicieraga did a remix of it which seems inspired by pure loathing, or perhaps misunderstanding that the funny aspects of the song were originally meant to be funny, and it comes off like he didn’t get the joke – a rare thing for Neil, who is a sharp musical wit.  Or it might be that any recognition of Prince’s appeal was soured by his estate’s litigiousness, a trait which may be the reason I can no longer find a link for that.

This morning I was listening to The Sound’s album Jeopardy.  I only got as far as the end of “Missiles” before I needed to tend some chore.  The lead off track “I can’t Escape Myself” is the best bad self esteemin’ song ever, sad and terrible, but beautiful rock and roll.  “Hour of Need” is a great companion to it.  Every time I hear those songs I think of the sad goths in my life with affection.  “Missiles” doesn’t have the most clever lyrics in the universe, but the late lead singin’ man’s voice elevates it to a passionate expression of frustration we all feel being in a world of nukes and war – shit regular people are nigh powerless to stop.

Sing it, baby.

The Rift – Our William Brinkman’s New Novel

Our FtB man William Brinkman is dropping a novel for y’all this week – on July 13th, my birthday.  But I had a birthday present in June when he made a review copy available to his people.  Thanks, man.  Below the fold are some very long form thoughts I had before and during my read.  Above that, the review I’ll post wherever I have an account.

***

I had a good time reading this book, though I had some reservations before I started.  As soon as the adventurous part of the story began – which was pretty quickly – you could feel the author entering his comfort zone.  With all the disappointment and crap involved in Disney’s monopoly on entertainment, I’ve been hoping to see more adventurous fiction that doesn’t rely on any of their properties – in spirit, like fic with the serial numbers filed off.  And being an AMAB reader over the age of forty, post-YA wasn’t going to do it for me either.

The Rift was an entertaining high speed journey into Brinkman’s “Bolingbrook Babbler” universe, inspired by the UFO / amazing bat-boy end of the tabloid spectrum, and best of all it required no prior knowledge of his oeuvre.  We follow a character being introduced to the world of paranormal conspiracies and don’t have to choke on a bunch of references to deep lore.

This is one of those books that *needed* to be self-published because it’s too unconventional, too niche, to be sold to major publishers.  You can have a story with wild original content, but to sell that it needs to fit into some kind of recognizable mold, like surreal literary fiction or magical realism.  The Rift is genre fiction in a very functional 20th century style, without the frippery of Catherynne Valente or poetic ostentation of litfic regulars.

I’d place it in what was once called “men’s fiction” – the kind of adventure stories that once sat near the checkout stands at supermarkets, like the tabloids that provided The Rift’s milieu.  Stories about spies, war, survival, treachery.  And yet it isn’t a very comfortable fit for that genre either.  The ladies in those stories are objects and props, and this one takes pains to establish that ladies have lives and agendas wholly independent of our adventuring protagonist.

That said, The Rift does center the perspective of a man who becomes enmeshed in the world of internet misogyny.  Of course he has a shot at redemption and can change in the course of the story, but the close third person perspective on him could be off-putting to those who have been most bothered by those internet misogynists in real life – regardless of the author’s intentions and the story’s ultimate direction.

Which gets us back to the issue of niche.  While this novel does not depend on prior knowledge of Brinkman’s Babblerverse, I feel it does require some knowledge of skepticism as a culture, and of the rift that brings us the title.  If you don’t understand what skeptics are about, the story’s introduction to the concept might feel off-putting or confusing.  If you weren’t privy to the fall-out of “elevatorgate,” when the skeptic movement split into progressive and reactionary factions, then you might have a harder time understanding the very point of the story and most of the events within it.

Even within that subculture, the book could lose audience from its concept alone.  As I mentioned, the progressives burned by the IRL conflict may have very little interest in seeing a redemption tale play out.  Hopefully the ten years since the furor began will help them get past that enough to read the novel.  It handles the subject very well.  Everything that starts to feel insensitive, or like a misstep, is ultimately redeemed through the story’s plot.  It’s kind of brilliant at that, playing its hand with more subtlety than you might expect.

And all that said, maybe I’m not giving the average non-skeptic-culture reader enough credit here.  If the price is right and you like the idea of a feminist sci-fi adventure in a tabloid UFO setting, give it a shot.  And if you are in the book’s target demo – skeptic culture warriors – definitely pick this one up.

Full Disclosure: William Brinkman and I are both writers on the same blog network, which is for progressives within atheism and skepticism.

***

Now for the deeper thoughts I had, which probably make this one of my longest articles ever, haha…

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Commercial Implications

Watching the streams of CW tv shows, they changed the way their video works so my adblocking software is no longer compatible, and I haven’t gone through the effort to resolve that yet.  So I’ve been seeing commercials again.  Commercials with weird implications and issues.  I might be missing something because I always have these commercials muted.

There’s some kind of treatment for anxiety and depression which I imagine is not approved for people assigned male at birth.  One of the commercials focused on this really pretty young lady, and you know how these drug commercials are – unnaturally beautiful light suffusing everything, delicate camera movements.  Porn wishes it had what they have, heh.  However the company branded this treatment “Hers.”  A surely unintended implication: depressed trans dudes get fucked.

so cute

There’s a commercial for this credit card that claims you can build your credit score by purchasing everything with it.  We rapidly follow a kinda sweaty unkempt young man through the stages of his life as the credit score improves his circumstances.  Weirdly they include a post-coital moment of relaxation as part of the narrative of him buying house – getting married – having baby.  Each stage has him or his lover expressing their thrill with “whoa” like faker Neos.  Anyway, implication: all those things denied to you young generations by the fathomless greed of the Capitalist Lich Lords?  Actually just a funny misunderstanding.  You weren’t building your credit score, and now you can!

There’s a commercial for an HIV medicine that says it can make your viral loads undetectable, and “U=U,” undetectable equals untransmissible.  Or it’s a weird emoji.  But the way they illustrate this is by having our cute successful young homosexual in a variety of social situations having brief moments of platonic contact with people.  He shakes somebody’s hand, passes a document, touches an arm.  And all while not transmitting HIV!  Amazing!

so cute

The weird unintended implication there is, of course, that HIV could be transmitted by all sorts of actually harmless things.  But the commercial would probably have a harder time getting cleared for TV if it implied he was having unprotected sex and sharing needles without transmitting HIV.

But that credit card commercial had implied fucking, so like, get creative guys.

 

More TV Thoughts

If you’re on tumblr or a place that circulates screencaps of tumblr posts, you may have noticed a lot of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine images and memes.  If you’re an executive with rights to Star Trek content, you might be thinking – Yisss, paydirt, time for shitty DS9 reboot to cash in!  You are mistaken.  This is specifically a backlash against Star Wars going to hell in a handbasket.  I know this because I’ve seen a blog go from semi-ironic love for B-list Star Wars canon fodder to having zero SW and nothing but ST overnight, right around the time the mouse sharted out episode nine.

You’re begging for a backlash to the backlash if you go in like a greedlord.  I suppose you don’t care, but just understand this: DS9 Retread will not make money.  Not a bit.  Impoverished fandom dorkwads casting about listlessly after all the franchises and stars that they love turn to shit, these are not people with money to burn.  There’s hardly anybody left with money to burn.  We’re all wasting time dinking around on our phones until capitalism finishes eating itself and the survivors have to waste their time dinking around with radiotrophic fungus instead.

On another subject, Naomi never got any better.

Remember when Stargirl made superpowers look fun and amazing and comic booky?  Never gonna happen here.  Superpowers are just whatever you can make happen with actors standing around and glowy shit painted in with after effects.  It makes them feel like an abstract idea in a bad way.  In action adventure done well, the power or skill a character possesses feels like their desire made manifest.  I will defeat the bad guy.  I want it bad enough that I can fly.  The character motivations just don’t move anything and the visuals are so lackluster that’s all you have.  Actors are fine, doing the best they can.  The writing is mediocre.  The sense of anything “super” happening is fucking abysmal.

I might be just about done with CW superhero shows.  The flagship primo properties all ended their run or are showing their budget in the worst ways.  The writing of the newest season of The Flash is full of budget-shaped plot holes.  Even in the best of seasons that show spends too much time on maudlin tragedy.  The last couple seasons the main actress Candice Patton has been sequestered from the crew by writing excuses so much it feels like she must have beef with them or something.  It just has me tired as hell.

It’s just as well.  I got things to do.

Stars

I titled this post “stars” because I am transforming into Mr. RE Nemesis.  That’s one for the #gamerz in the audients.

But seriously, there’s a lot of talent out there in the world that goes unnoticed by the mainstream.  A couple of rock ladies from the 90s got together with an unknown weirdo for a little band, did a few tracks, like ten years ago.  Metal bros didn’t like it.  I can’t listen to it much because I’ll get it stuck in my head, but the metal bros are wrong.  They just don’t know from fun.

So who are the stars?  The ol’ rock gals do good lo fi cronchy music, but that singer is who I’m thinking of the most.  She’s spectacular.  She’s got a funny presence and it’s on purpose, plus she has the powerful clear and brilliant voice.  Why was this the closest she ever came to fame before disappearing?  I’ll hide the video under the fold for gobs of fake blood and The Shining references.

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Naomi

Watching the new superhero show “Naomi” about teenage girl who finds out she’s an alien superhero like Superman.  OK, I’m not the target demo.  But still, the writing feels mighty half-assed and poorly conceived.

Most of the other superhero shows have the advantage of featuring a cultural icon that comes with some measure of prior awareness.  If you’re going to make a new superhero, you’re starting at a disadvantage, so you’ve gotta come strong.  You need a hook.

That isn’t as hard as it sounds.  You might not go with the very first thing that comes to mind, might take a few minutes to hit something good.  Maybe a few days if you’re having a bad time.  The hook isn’t the same thing as the fabled “idea” that will make your story the next big thing.  This is just a basic entry point for the narrative, one compelling situation or mystery to get people invested.

Black Lightning had a good one.  What happens when a rusty superhero is tempted to come out of retirement because the crime in his community affects his family?  There’s the appeal of seeing a busted old dude recover a measure of his youth (relatable for busted old dudes, lots of movies about that theme), the current fight itself, the mystery of why he fell off in the first place, and a half dozen compelling character relationships hitting the screen in the same episode.

If we’re going to give it the benefit of a doubt, let’s say Naomi has a slow burn.  We’ll find out about the hook gradually, parting veils of little mysteries along the way.  Feels like a terrible way to start.  Let’s look at the mysteries.  Naomi is adopted – but it’s cool, family is nice.  Naomi has a health problem and is fainting sometimes, but nobody’s worried enough to take her to a neurologist.

Naomi likes Superman and there was a sighting downtown that she missed.  Superman is a fictional character or cryptid in this world so she’s investigating it on the assumption it was a “stunt” somebody staged.  Basically the most exciting thing to happen in the show is a non-thing that the hero wasn’t even there for.

Let’s look at the relationships.  Naomi’s adoptive parents?  Nice.  Not compelling.  People in town are all on a first name basis, which is a bit weird, but they don’t know each other all that well, so…  Not compelling.  There are spooky guys that run a car dealership and a tattoo parlor.  Ooh.  Naomi has like three different friends who want to date her.  Whaaat?

kaci walfall as naomi

all my friends are hot for me

That could be interesting, if a bit insulting to the dignity of the suitors.  But since she isn’t going for any of them, they could go for anyone else at any time without it having any emotional stakes for her.  What if they fight each other, like when Odysseus trashed all those bozos?  No, two of them are kinda terse with each other and the third never interacts with the other two.  What if the suitors cause her strife?  No, she’s just sorta awkward friends with all of them.

By the time it’s revealed in episode two she’s an alien with superpowers, it feels like, eh, whatever.  Her BFF takes the news like NBD and that feels reasonable, tho by now her own mild excitement in no way mirrors that of the audience.

I’ve written stuff this tepid before and I’ll probably do it again.  I’ve got this approach to writing where I ask myself questions and answer them.  That can be good, or it can produce something as rote as a job interview.  This feels like the result of that process.

Naomi wasn’t a story somebody wrote because of inspiration, it was written to order for a project – or off a pitch with no actual story ideas behind it that got greenlit.  I understand it’s a comic adaptation, maybe the original comic was like that.  Or maybe the adaptation eschewed enough of the original story that it was written from scratch in this way.

I don’t know how it worked in this particular writer’s room.  Probably their process was kneecapped by time constraints, or interference, or budget?  But there’s a lot of ways to prevent this.  They mostly amount to the same thing.  Don’t go with your first answer, your first impulse.  Think about it – is this really entertaining? – or get input from somebody else, or do some kind of activities to stimulate a genuine feeling of inspiration and look at that story again.

Another problem which is bad, though less fundamentally bad, is that there are a lot of situations and scenes that strain credulity or just make zero sense, or seem like they’re only happening because shit like that happens in TV shows.

The most extreme example in episode two has Naomi and all her little suitors and friends in a spooky abandoned mill when the scary car dealership man shows up and says, “We gotta talk Naomi, I know your scoobies broke and entered my car dealership.  That’s a misdemeanor.”  She says, “If I talk will you let let my scoobies go?”  The scoobies are like, “If Naomi says that’s a good idea we should all just go along with it, for reasons.”  You might be wondering by now why car dealership man is scary, and the answer is mostly the way the camera frames him.  This show is a sad mess.

cranston johnson as zumbado

i’m so scary that my suit don’t fit

I’ll probably watch more anyways.  I’m watching the new Superman show for which I am *really* not the intended demographic either (namely people who want desperately to believe conservatives have redeeming qualities and can be reasoned with).  I don’t have any streaming services and not much else to do in these interstitial moments.  I’ll post on it again if it gets any better.

More Uninspired Disney Shit

Saw the new trailer for the Loki show on Disney’s streaming service.  If what passes for wit in that clip is the cream of the TV series, set your expectations real low.  Or if you don’t want to support the Mouseopoly, use it as a inspiration to not bother watching at all.  For more of that kind of reinforcement, see also the Marvel “Phase Four” trailer that was mostly emotional bits from the last 15 years of their movies, interspersed with straight-up propaganda-sounding lines about “being a part of something greater.”  It felt like a republican candidate TV spot and was manipulative in a way that just isn’t working on me anymore, quite specifically because of the way they set me up to give a shit about Space Shooters in episode 7 then landed like a shart in episode 9.

That new A24 movie looks tight though, hm?