You can’t go back again in Star Wars

I have really good memories of the first Star Wars, back in 1977, and the latest installment made me rethink them. What genuinely thrilled me in the first movie was that it was like nothing else out there — it was strange, it was original, it was an odd mashup of a fantasy novel and a space opera, it was…creative. It was also epic and heroic and all those good things.

But here’s the problem with that: you can’t get that enthralling sense of newness and surprise if you keep going back to the same material again and again. At the same time, the corporations running the game don’t want to gamble, they want to milk the same cow ten thousand times. You can walk into this new Star Wars movie and enjoy yourself because it is comfortable and familiar and rehashes the old tropes yet again, and that’s fine — it’s just like that new Scorsese movie, The Irishman, because it is like every other gangster movie that’s been released in the last 40 years. Great, if that’s what you want.

If what drew you to Star Wars in the first place was the novelty and creativity, though, it’s not here. This movie has the Hero-Discovers-They-Had-Royal-Blood-All-Along. It has the Villain-Who-Is-Redeemed. It has the Overwhelming-Evil-Force-With-One-Itty-Bitty-Weak-Spot. It has the Battle-In-The-Throne-Room, while Space-Battle-Seems-To-Be-Doomed going on at the same time. It has Porgs…and Ewoks! It is McDonalds and KFC and Burger King, the old reliables that produce the same thing everywhere and everytime, but will never ever astonish you. It’s been commoditized.

I was actually getting pissed off and disappointed during this movie, because it totally lacks any creativity or unexpected shocks. It’s as if JJ Abrams went through all the old entries in the Star Wars universe, picked out all the memorable themes, dumped them into a blender, and poured the resultant slurry out on a tray and served it up to the audience confident that they’d recognize the scraps of the old flavor and love it. And he’s right. People will eat it up and make the corporation lots of money. I shouldn’t be disappointed, because this movie wasn’t made for me. Sometimes people want formulaic nostalgia, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Except…there is reason to be worried. The dominant forces in science fiction entertainment are Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel Superhero movies, pure comfort food that provide little intellectual stimulation. We have to hope the flood of money pouring in for the predictable and familiar encourages them to take an occasional gamble on some weird one-off like Annihilation or Arrival or Watchmen.

We also have to hope the good ones don’t get coopted into long-running mega-franchises, because all that can happen with that is that they’ll be run into the ground and turn into deep furrows that limit originality. In art, death is good, opening the doors of change and inspiring new ideas, so let these series die. I fear, though, that now that the Evil Empire of Disney has seized control, Zombie Star Wars is going to be revived and walk the earth forevermore.


  1. iiandyiiii says

    PZ, have you watched (or read) The Expanse (the TV series was formerly on SyFy, now on Amazon Prime)? I think it’s the best sci-fi screen entertainment out there right now (maybe the latest season of Watchmen comes close, but it’s very, very different.

  2. danamania says

    I’m glad you mentioned Annihilation, I can’t watch just a part of that film – if I start it I’m there til the end every time. 10/10 for everything it does for me.

    My hope re: Star Wars is that the sheer width of material available now combined with this Golden Age of Television means we’ll get more side flicks and series, like Rogue One and The Mandalorian. Familiar universe with a little bit of twist.

    Along with more oddballs of course, like (or unlike) Annihilation or Arrival.

  3. A Sloth named Sparkles says

    Unless you wrote a scifi epic on whatever medium, be it novels, games or a handkerchief & get adapted, there’s no chance you can get an original scifi IP be on the big screen. The best you can get is have the support of Keanu Reeves to be in your movie, and at the least, freaking Nic Cage.

    @4 have a good point though. Streaming is where is at right now, with a lot of original SF stories being made on Netflix or it’s equivalent, while science docs are being shown on platforms such as CuriosityStream. A lot of viewers are moving away from the big screens and onto watching their movies on phones. On one hand, it is slowly driving out a lot of theater business, but on the other, the streaming platforms are providing a lot of creative leeway for filmmaker, at least for now.

  4. dma8751482 says

    Ironic that The Last Jedi was criticized for diverging too far from the formula, isn’t it? I’m not surprised that the critics these days are just as bad as the general public with this sort of thing.

  5. says

    it was an odd mashup of a fantasy novel and a space opera

    While The Mandalorian isn’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before, science fiction westerns aren’t anything new, it still doing something different in the Star Wars universe and I think that’s one of the non-Baby Yoda reasons for its success. Yes, there is a 50-year-old infant with force powers, but seven episodes in we haven’t yet seen a single lightsaber.

    After seeing The Force Awakens, Rey quickly became my favourite character from that universe. Now though? She’s still up there (I haven’t seen the newest film yet) but darn it, I love Mando, BY, Cara Dune (who I want to see as a regular or get her own spin-off), and Kuiil.

  6. Michael says

    I totally agree with you about ‘The Rise of Skywalker’. It was a mess. They threw in every character cameo they could, and when they ran out, they threw in equipment and location nods as well. Star Wars fans are going to have quite a challenge trying to pick out every nod to every Star Wars movie that they included (I wouldn’t be surprised if Darth Maul and Alex Guinness were hidden in the background somewhere).
    They also didn’t bother fixing the problems with the other movies. (Potential spoiler alert) One of the biggest complaints is that Rey is a Mary Sue (character that can do anything the plot requires, just because), and it got even worse with her developing new powers, and both Rey and Kylo able to teleport things. Then there were the villain’s superweapons, with easy exploitable weaknesses.
    At one point I was expecting Rey and Kylo to hook up, and eventually start making baby Skywalkers, but then no, for no apparent reason.

  7. John Harshman says

    Don’t blame Abrams. Lucas set the model when he had to destroy the Death Star twice. The rot began with only the third movie in the series.

  8. says

    I think what sets the original trilogy apart was that it was genuine. It was Lucas own idea, and something he had to fight to realize. That combined with young(ish) Lucas talent and creativity made for something new.

    For me the prequels completely scull fucked the franchise, and the “improved” originals only served to piss on the remains. The sequels couldn’t resurrect that corpse with a Jacobs Ladder the size of a planet.

    That being said I really liked Rey in 7&8 (won’t see 9 until it’s released on disc/streaming). Both of them had their moments, but in the end felt like they were written by a bunch of soulless studio execs.

    I would rather wait 10 years for another Annihilation or Arrival than the endless series of unimaginative Disney/Marvel/whatever “blockbusters” we’ve been fed lately.
    I also second iiandyiiii#1’s recommendation. The Expanse is hands down one of the absolute best shows out there today.

  9. says

    Seriously, Rian Johnson made a movie that dared be just a little bit off the Star Wars center and Disney fucking panicked by bringing back good ol’ JJ. I know I have to see this movie because my son is a huge new-Star Wars fan but I’m just dreading what I expect to be a huge wet fart of a movie.

  10. says

    I liked it to be honest but mostly because it was the last film in the franchise, so it was the same feeling as the visit at your parents house to see your family dog from your childhood for the last time.
    So it had most of what I expected in a goodbye movie – all the tropes revisited, or the secrets exposed, or the main characters returned and remembered.
    Plus great special effects.
    So as a last part of the franchise it fulfills its’ role.

    However maybe americans like pathos and stuff, most of the final confrontation was simply embarrassing to see. People in cinema just laughed it all

  11. lotharloo says

    The last Jedi was interesting because it was different but the fans hated it. They wanted “plot twists” with Snoke, and Ren, and Kylo. The fans asked for regurgitated drivel. Although to be fair, The Last Jedi was also a shit movie overall, half the plot didn’t make sense but I guess that’s consistent with all Star wars movies, including the original trilogy.

  12. consciousness razor says

    I guess there’s one minor spoiler below, which you should’ve seen coming a mile away.
    I counted about half a dozen unanswered questions in the first ten minutes, then much more where that came from as time went by. I expected as much from Abrams, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a bad habit that he needs to quit. His movies don’t have plot holes. They have small, disconnected islands of plot in a sea of nothing.
    There was too much sappy reverence about Leia dying — a totally unsurprising turn of events, as I alluded to above. But of course, it was really once again about Carrie Fisher’s death, which I’ll note happened three years (and three movies) ago. Several scenes and much dialogue devoted to it, which amounted to wasting even more time that could’ve been spent telling a coherent story.
    It was also jarring to see always-pointless character Maz Kanata just standing there, waiting to give a pointless reaction shot over her corpse at the appropriate (but also pointless) time, when it vanished a bit later. Didn’t she have anything better to do, like for example fighting in their giant battle, where everyone else in the fucking galaxy was supposed to go? Wasn’t that the plan?
    It felt like most of this movie was loaded with rushed exposition that the second film in the trilogy was supposed to have set up (based on Abram’s version of events and not Rian Johnson’s). Other than the fate of a couple of characters, I’m pretty sure you didn’t need to understand a single thing about anything that happened in Last Jedi. (I’m referring to Luke and Snoke. They’re only barely relevant, but you may at least be wondering about them, if you had only seen Force Awakens.)
    Indeed, maybe you’d understand this movie better overall, if you hadn’t seen the movie before it, because a bunch of very implausible things that had to have happened behind the scenes then may not seem quite as ridiculous now. They’d still be pretty ridiculous I guess, but not quite so bad, if they had been established before to some extent — meaning you actually see it developing or at least some vague hints of that, over the course of the now trilogy (not “So, this is true now. Alright kids, enjoy the rollercoaster ride.”)
    The only things that surprised me a bit were a few random force powers they added for different characters, which again came out of nowhere and lead nowhere, because that’s how Abrams does all his shit.

  13. Reginald Selkirk says

    What genuinely thrilled me in the first movie was that it was like nothing else out there — it was strange, it was original,…

    The film Star Wars stole from

    George Lucas has acknowledged that Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress inspired parts of his own saga. Nicholas Barber looks at just how far the similarities go.

  14. Ragutis says

    I’ll be waiting to see it until school starts again and i can catch an empty matinee, but I have seen several similar reviews complaining that its just a fan service smörgåsbord with little depth. Maybe people had different expectations going in? I’ll just sneak in a half pint of rum, get my big ass soda and popcorn and let myself be entertained and distracted for a couple of hours.

    Not having seen it, I obviously can’t even begin to guess how Disney will continue the tale, but I’m sure they will someday, in a not so long, long time from now.. I don’t know what’s canon and what’s not nowadays, but there are good storytellers doing novels, cartoons and comics, so potentially someone could conceive an original, compelling expansion of the saga.

    I am, like others above, enthused with the expansion into the larger Star Wars universe. It’s a great setting and familiar to millions and millions. Rogue One and even Solo were good first steps, and I’m really liking The Mandalorian. Now that Disney’s in charge, we will be seeing TONS of this cash cow they’ve acquired. I’m just going to do my best to be optimistic and hope there’s more good than bad.

    Oh, one more thing. Not to color any of the above, just general interest. Did anyone else read that Favreau would love to do another holiday special?

  15. says

    @David#11: II can kinda remember that I liked No8 better. Probably due to Mark Hamill, it was good seeing him again.
    Although the opening visuals in No7 alone was probably worth the tickets price. For a few glorious minutes I actually thought they might have pullet it off.


  16. Ragutis says

    Um, I don’t want to derail things too far off topic, but I have a small request. My father passed away last month and this will genuinely be my first christmas alone. And that’s OK. I’m dealing with it, I think. Anyway, I ordered myself some good cheese, a goose breast to cook and my neighbor gave me her recipe for these frosted pumpkin bite things. I’ll just run out for some wine sometime this weekend. I mostly plan on spending the day quietly watching movies and playing video games (I’m forcing myself not to fire up Outer Worlds or Greedfall before Wednesday). So, anyone have any sci-fi or fantasy movie/TV/game suggestions? (Yes, I’ve seen the flicks PZ mentioned) Something cerebral or a simple popcorn muncher, it’s all good and all appreciated.

  17. says

    Okay so… I decided to seek out spoilers for the film, because the reviews are giving me anxiety.

    Relax, I won’t spoil anything here.

    But my impression is that, with Force Awakens, Abrams had a very specific vision that Johnson went and incinerated with Last Jedi. Abrams, having been brought back for Rise of Skywalker, then tried to raise his vision back from the ashes while making sure it fit with Last Jedi… and did a bad job of it.

    My brother also heard that it was actually George Lucas who wrote the ending we get with Rise of Skywalker? Do y’all know if there’s any truth in that?

    I am… not happy. My brother and I are doing a Star Wars marathon (official order: Prequels, Solo, Rogue One, Original Trilogy, Sequels), and I’ve been posting about them on Facebook. I remember seeing Last Jedi in theaters and not liking it, but pivoting so hard into defending it from anti-SJW crusaders that I somehow convinced myself it was great. We’re in the middle of watching Last Jedi right now and I’m remembering everything I didn’t like about it…

  18. lotharloo says

    PSA: read the plot on Wikipedia and then save yourself money and time. That’s what I did and realized I’m not going to watch it. Took me much less than 10 minutes and saved me hours.

  19. johnlee says

    There is so much material out there for good sci-fi movies that provide something different while also entertaining.
    I would love to see a movie version of ‘The Chrysalids’ by John Wyndam, or ‘The City and the Stars’ by Arthur C. Clarke, for example, but the list is endless.

  20. Hj Hornbeck says


    So, anyone have any sci-fi or fantasy movie/TV/game suggestions?

    I’m going to endorse The Expanse as well. I haven’t seen every TV episode, but I have read the first five books and the show is a close adaptation. It’s hard sci-fi, but it overcomes the problems inherent to that with a laser-focus on humanity and politics.

    I haven’t watched either myself, but I’ve heard good things about Sense8 and Orphan Black. Also going by word-of-mouth, Control and Outer Wilds are probably worth playing.

  21. says

    umm the Irishman isn’t like every other gangster movie as it is as much about memory and aging as it is about the inning workers of the mob.

  22. says

    @Tabby Lavalamp:

    I love Mando, BY, Cara Dune (who I want to see as a regular or get her own spin-off), and Kuiil.

    Mando is an interesting enough character. I don’t love him, but he(? I like that this is technically still unknown) carries the show well enough that I haven’t seriously considered not watching future episodes. Baby Yoda is lovely fun, but I have a theory on how BY was badly used in a couple places and how they could have made those scenes much better if anyone with actual familiarity with babies was involved in producing the script. Kuiil is … fine.

    But none of these make me constantly want to return to see what happens next for the character’s sake. Cara Dune, on the other hand, her backstory sets up some very interesting possibilities and I can’t wait to see more of her. Given that this is the Star Wars universe they can easily take something tantalizingly vague and make it fun-killingly and disbelief-destroyingly specific. (Midichlorians, anyone?) But right now, Cara Dune is by far my favorite of the recurring characters, even if Carl Weathers is my favorite of the actors.

    OT: Cara Dune reminds me of a fictional villain from my superhero role-playing game. The bulk of the character was stolen from an official V&V supplement – one of the Most Wanted collections, IIRC. The official character was named Juno and I loved and retained her backstory of growing up the child of a brilliant physicist (in the official V&V version employed by the Russian space program) who thought that the human body was more adaptable than it was credited. So the physicist made Juno wear an gravity-increasing belt from the time she was an infant. Juno ended up slightly shorter than she might otherwise (around 5′-ish or just over 1.5 meters) but totally bulked up and strong as hell. Her “weakness” was that if didn’t keep her grav belt on as much as possible, her strength would slowly fade. The sketches of her in the supplement look a lot like Cara Dune, especially the bulked-out arms. She was one of my favorite villains, truly “super” though more on the scale of Luke Cage than Captain Marvel, but forced to constantly endure bodily stress to the point of occasional agony to maintain her power. Yet she had the will to do it.

    Cara Dune, so far, strikes me as someone who went through hell to become the capable person she is (though not superpowered, AFAICT), which creates yet another parallel. Whether or not I respect her violent choices, I sure as hell respect her strength of will.

    Yep, CD is a lovable badass.

    In the meantime, I suppose this is a 21st-century Gunsmoke (though I don’t remember ever watching Gunsmoke, what I’ve read suggests this holds true). Whether or not Mando actually experiences life stoically (in the quotidian sense, not the philosophical sense), the always-on helmet creates a de facto affect of unyielding flatness. He

  23. sarah00 says

    @26, I wouldn’t worry. I watched it due to people raving about it and I wasn’t just disappointed by the end, I was angry that I’d wasted my time watching something that turned out to be so cliched. I was waiting for it to get good but it never did. It just did that frustrating thing of saving all the drama for the last few minutes to hook you into watching the next episode only for it to be resolved in the most underwhelming way. I honestly don’t understand why everyone went on about it. It was drivel.

  24. says

    …and I was curious enough to look it up. The original character was in the V&V supplement “Opponents Unlimited” and was actually named Jovia in that book (I had changed her name for my campaign, or I would have remembered).

    Writing credit goes to Stalwart Stefan Jones, while the illustrations were courtesy of one of The Atheist Experience’s original hosts, lo so many years ago, Jeff Dee.

    Ah, good times.

  25. William George says

    JJ Abrams makes Michael Bay look like Fellini. I have rock bottom expectations for a Star Wars movie (gimmie some good space pew pew and I’m happy) but his entries have failed to even do that.

    Also, I’m never going to forgive him for what he did to Star Trek.

  26. hemidactylus says

    It’s probably more me than recent movies but I’m not enthused. Maybe I will binge them and change my mind. Interested in really old guy Luke and how he turned out.

    Hated Phantom Menace. Someone told me Keira Knightley was in it as Padme’s body double and I was like “Really?”. They are actually clones in real life. Attack of the Clones was much better and reinterested me in Star Wars since whatever the subsequent two in original trilogy were called kinda not super interesting in retrospect.

    Ewan McGregor played in an episode of ER (who hasn’t?) as a guy robbing a convenience store when The Good Wife was alienated from her job. He also got his ass kicked in Haywire by Mallory Kane. He fucking deserved it.

    And Natalie is amazing:

    Oh wait that wasn’t Star Wars sorry. Much better really.

  27. hemidactylus says

    As for JJ Abrams. I saw some Alias. Seemed cool. Strong female lead. Knew a guy that starred in an episode and got his ass kicked by Jennifer Garner in a small scene. I can’t be the only person who feels cheated by Lost. What the hell was that about really. I did really like Person of Interest all the way through. That was intense:

    Just a facet and nuff said. Won’t even get into badasses Shaw and Reese.

  28. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    It’s as if JJ Abrams went through all the old entries in the Star Wars universe, picked out all the memorable themes, dumped them into a blender, and poured the resultant slurry out on a tray and served it up to the audience confident that they’d recognize the scraps of the old flavor and love it.

    pretty much what he did to his version of The Wrath Of Khan, he basically took TWOK, threw the script into the air, then reassembled the script completely randomly. Each scene recognizable as directly from TWOK.
    This scrambling of old stories seems to be his fall back method when he runs out of fresh ideas.

  29. hemidactylus says

    @37 Crip Dyke
    Shaw was a Marine before becoming a member of the ISA (“Activity”). Reese was Delta operator before going full spook. They eventually stopped doing evil deeds for the government and hooked up with a nerd refugee from Lost who had developed a panopticon AI for the government that he switched over toward less evil domestic crime predicting activities. Evil corporation developed a rival panopticon AI and coaxed government support with a false flag terrorist patriot group and then a cyber battle for existence ensued. AI “gods” lock horns using human agents.

    Now awaiting finale of Mr Robot.

    Few shows appeal to me as much as those two have.

  30. says

    So… I saw Rise of Skywalker…

    PZ, you’re wrong.

    I don’t think this was Abrams’ fault. I think it was Disney attempting (poorly) to course-correct from Last Jedi. It’s very clear that Abrams had a specific vision with Force Awakens (one that both Disney and Lucas liked), and Johnson came along with Last Jedi and said “no”. Disney, seeing the “controversial” response to Last Jedi, brought Abrams back and forced him to course correct.

    That’s entirely my impression.

    Also, it wasn’t that bad. Perhaps it helped that I spoiled myself so my expectations were so low it was literally impossible to do worse than them, but I’m okay with it. It was definitely two movies rolled into one, and it 100% felt like an attempt at a course correct.

    I genuinely don’t think Abrams is to blame on this one.

  31. says

    I disagree with almost every movie review you ever do. I might agree on some general principles, but strip away the reasoning and boil it down to thumbs up or vice versa, and I have the opposite opinion most of the time. I just think that’s kind of funny.

  32. lochaber says

    ragutis@20> seconding (or whatever iteration we are up to by now…) the recommendations for Umbrella Academy and The Expanse. Frankly I was surprised to learn that The Expanse started out on SyFy, because it seemed to completely lack their trademark cheesiness…

    I’m going to just list a bunch of stuff I liked, and hope some of it appeals to you…

    Byzantium, The Transfiguration, Let the Right One In, Avalon(2001), Summer Wars, Your Name, Predestination, The Endless, The Ritual, Here Alone, Into the Forest, Raw, Atomic Blonde, Alita: Battle Angel, Strange Days, Ghost World, Blade Runner 2049, Chronicle, It Follows, The Babadook, Ex Machina, Source Code.

    sorry, that’s all over the place, and I’m sure I’m forgetting another couple dozen I really liked.

  33. mudpuddles says

    I’ve been a Star Wars superfan since 1977, lived and breathed it all my life, still have first release pristine toys from the original trilogy, and think Rise of Skywalker is one of the best of the lot. Not on a par with the original or Empire, but wonderful nonetheless for what it is. Yes, it’s full of bad dialogue, glaring plot holes, occasionally wooden acting, and weird direction choices, just like every single one of the others. But enough inventive story telling devices, careful character development and beautifully detailed world-building to marvel at. Loved it.

  34. stroppy says

    Loved the first Star Wars, then the evil empire of franchising struck back. Meh.
    Person of Interest, good stuff. Orphan Black, a hoot…

    Thing is much of the joy has been sucked out of science fiction for me. I blame Republicans and Trump bringing us into and alternate universe of unending tawdry sickness.

    But hey, if you just can’t let go:

    Just remember and try to exercise a little impulse control, mmmm-K?

  35. Howard Brazee says

    Young people have no idea of how much impact the opening scene with the space ship that goes on and on and on had on us on opening night.

  36. Ragutis says

    Hj Hornbeck

    20 December 2019 at 5:30 pm

    I haven’t watched either myself, but I’ve heard good things about Sense8 and Orphan Black

    I haven’t seen or heard much about Sense8 either, but if you’re looking for something to watch, I’ll throw in my recommendation for Orphan Black. The first two seasons are great, then it gets a bit up and down, but it’s pretty much all worth watching if only for Tatiana Maslany’s performance(s?). OK, so she plays multiple clones with wildly different personalities, and they’re all pretty fantastic, but then she also ends up playing a clone impersonating another clone… it’s just great. The supporting cast is strong as well. It’s not perfect, but IMHO well worth watching.

    Anyway, thanks all for the recommendations given so far. I’ll happily take more and more. I’ve got a Prime membership, so I’ll probably be giving The Expanse a go. But there’s lots of hours to fill until the Doctor Who episode on New Year’s, so keep ’em coming. Thank you all again!

  37. says

    I can wholeheartedly recommend STAR WARS UNCUT: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT, which is available on Vimeo. The creators went on the internet and asked fans to remake the whole original movie in 20-second pieces, and the result is a dizzying patchwork of styles (from live action to stick figures to dogs to) in kaleidoscopic succession. It’s nigh brain-melting in its splendor, and if I watch too much of it at a time, my brain explodes, but it’s just plain amazing is all. They’ve also done THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, but I’m not up to it yet. The fact that this exists gives me a new hope for humanity.



  38. kome says

    Just saw TRoS and… it had no story. None. It was wholly disconnected meaningless action scenes and underwhelming reveals that came out of and went absolutely nowhere. It was kids playing with Star Wars toys making lightsaber and laser noises to each other and occasionally going “yea, well, nuh-uh because this” “oh yea, well… nuh-uh because that” at each other.

    It was boring and lazy. The Last Jedi was interesting, even though it wasn’t executed very well. But you just can’t have interesting anymore. Not in a mainstream media franchise, at least. Too much of a risk.

    JJ did to Star Wars what he did to Star Trek: Sucked all the fun out of them.

  39. Phrenomythic Productions says

    I just saw the movie yesterday night with my daughter and it was fine. We were entertained and it was a lot of fun, though I haven’t had time to process it yet. But PZ puts his finger on some of the same things I noticed and felt, almost subconsciously, and more. Yes, that is actually a problem with this movie, but I’m not sure how to get around it. On the one hand, you want movies (and other cultural products) that are interesting and innovative to have success, so we can have more of that kind of stuff. On the other hand, this automatically leads to these particular instances to become milked until they’ve lost all their essence, because that’s just how our society currently works. I guess it’s just the price for keeping investors interested in new and goofy stuff, on the odd chance that it become a huge success, also monetarily.

  40. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    I’ve only watched the first season, but I like it. It’s weird and good, and very difficult to describe.

  41. simonhadley says

    I gave up on the SW franchise after Jar Jar was introduced. Sometimes you just have to be satisfied with childhood memories and leave them as they are. At the moment I’m rewatching The Expanse before heading into the new season 4. I would also recommend Carnival Row if you get the chance to watch it. HBO had a show several years back called Carnivale about a traveling carnival during the dust bowl years with a supernatural element. It suffered from lack of a coherent overall story arc but was still a very good show. Give it a try if you have the means. If nothing else, it is worth seeing just for the ever beautiful Adrienne Barbeau.

  42. hemidactylus says

    OK so I finally watched Rogue One all the way through last night. Had to get to the point I found it interesting. Was an all characters cared about are on a mission of finding their imminent death kinda movie. Suicide mission. Death Star does its thing in the end. Viva the resistance. Maybe I can get through a couple more movies of this. Wasn’t Donald Glover in one. Isn’t that movie luster why that jackass has stalled Atlanta? You just can’t do that to me dude!

    As for series past their shelf date just watched Rambo Last Blood. Cannot recommend this to anyone. Ever! The one where he was in Burma rescuing Christian missionaries was much better than most previous others and rekindled my interest. Rambo III from Afghanistan was ironically prescient and panned. This one started good where he gets the healing second family nurturance he needed after his brutal life but no…his niece had to go to Mexico and find her asshole father. Went horrifically and brutally tragic bad after that. He literally goes off his meds. That was a scene in itself. I watched Man on Fire, Takens, and Equalizers. Denzel and Liam had restraint. Last Blood is the most brutally horrific revenge movie I have seen in my life. Rambo goes f’ing hardcore Che/Viet Cong on the sex trafficking ring who kill his niece and implicitly draw last blood. Holy hell!

    At least Terminator reboot had humor with the robot Arnold becoming a home decorator after ruining Sarah’s life killing John in Mexico and the treatment of Mexicans a positive thumb in the eye to bigots because Ok Boomer Sarah gets superseded by a Mexican woman who learns as she did how to become our savior against the machines. I don’t need therapy after that one.

  43. Captain Kendrick says

    Just about everything that comes out anymore either bores me or pisses me off. Two surprises of 2019 that I will watch again, maybe even before 2019 ends (if I have time) because they were just that bloody good: Watchmen and Russian Doll.

    Both of these prove there is still hope for good entertainment.

  44. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    I’ve always been a fan of short stories. There are quite a few channels on Youtube that cater to them. One of them is DUST. Which is all Sci-fi.
    Omeleto is good also.
    On a whim I tried Love Death & Robots on Netflix and was pleasantly surprised.I’d recommend it. Many of the stories are rather short, just a few minutes.
    Here’s the thing about those youtube selections. Short stories are not fleshed out universes so they’re wont to leave you wanting sometimes. They’re not all top notch, the budgets are often low to none, the acting is not always the best. But sometimes the stories themselves will surprise you, as well as performances. And what some independent film makers can do with less might surprise you. Though there are clunkers. Which means not every story is meant for every taste.
    Here is an example of a better one I came across recently. SKYWATCH.

  45. unclefrogy says

    I have been reading this thread and will make an effort to watch some of the suggested videos whether one off movies or long form serials.
    I would also suggest that Dust is very good especially for me and my short attention span lately
    the worlds that are created and depicted in some of the videos as well as the story lines are very compelling.
    I am enjoying the expanse wondering what will happen next the only quibble I have is gravity but what the hell it is theater so it is OK.
    has anybody noticed any similarity of the Mandalorian with the lone ranger? (yes I am old)
    Kind of a Samurai Lone Ranger in space?
    uncle frogy