Six

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As the heat – such as it was – slowly increased last summer, my satellite dish became less and less interested in capturing and processing satellite TV signals, and, around Christmas, it finally decided that it wasn’t interested in doing that anymore and took up knitting…so I have no idea if Six made it to ‘normal’ TV screens in New Zealand. Replacement parts for the dish aren’t that much and I suppose I’ll get to doing something eventually but I just don’t miss normal TV that much…

Anyways, as part of transfer my ISP and phone allegiance back to Spark, I wound up with Spotify and Lightbox accounts. These came into their own with the new unlimited broadband account. Lightbox didn’t really float my boat too much: I found the selection rather limited and also that I no longer have a lot of time for binge watching TV. I manged to squeeze in Defiance, Lucky Man and the UK Ashes to Ashes (listed in ascending order of enjoyment) but kinda got over it…

Six was a refreshing new addition to the Lightbox line-up. Unhyped and unheralded, one evening, there it was on the menu – I may have ignored it for a while, mistaking it for The Real SEAL Team Six, a made for TV take on the 2011 bin Laden raid. I was cautious at first as most of the contemporary special operations genre seems to be Desperate Housewives with guns, even The Unit and the unlamented Ultimate Force: way too much domestic angst and not enough boots on the ground.

Six didn’t disappoint on the domestic angst front but its focus remained firmly on the ‘rescue one of our own’ plotline. The ‘one’ was played by Walter Goggins and, do admit that I have watched the full Justified enough times that I was expecting Raylan Givens to amble onscreen and laconically resolve the bad guys.

I like the current trend of episodic story-telling across a season: one story, one season. I’m not sure if that makes it a mini-series or not but it certainly resonates with me: beginning, middle and end. It worked with Bosch; it worked with the TV version of Shooter; and it works with Six. Each episode isn’t a standalone but roll into the next: there are only eight episodes and I was disappointed to get to the end – but only in that the next series was not ready to go (hasn’t been filmed yet ).

The story rolls smoothly and offers some insights into contemporary international security challenges . The equipment looks OK but the US DOD probably didn’t offer a lot of support to the production: too many C-130s, not enough C-17s, too many vanilla Blackhawks, no special ops birds…in this case, I don’t think that makes a big difference to the story or my enjoyment of it – and I tend to be picky on such things…I think that if you liked Band of Brothers and Blackhawk Down, Six is probably for you…

Bosch

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I was an early subscriber to Audible when it first set up in the early 2000s…I was doing a lot of rowing in the gym and needed something to keep my mind alive while going back and forward, back and forward, etc, etc, etc; and I was also driving Wellington-Auckland on a  regular basis for work (yes, I could have flown but it was nice to have the flexibility to stop along the way and visit places and friends)…

Back then, Audible had an introductory offer where they would gift you a Rio MP3 player with a whole 64Mb of memory on-board if you subscribed for a year or more -the subscription entitling me to two books each month from the library – even for USD14.95 when the Kiwi dollar was pretty depressed, with each Audible book around 8-16 hours, it was a good deal.

I would often forget about the subscription until just before the drop dead time – the subscriptions didn’t roll over so it was use them or lose them – and have to select the first two books that seemed even remotely interesting. Thus my Audible library was always a tad eclectic and my rule was that any book I started to listen, I would see through to the end, on some occasions the bitter bitter end..

So, that’s how I stumbled onto Michael Connolly, first through his standalone Chasing the Dime, and from there into my first Bosch novel, which I think was Lost Light…Over the next decade plus, I slowly acquired more Connolly novels, in digital and hard copy formats…Bosch was the man though, I could never get into the Lincoln Lawyer series but did enjoy Blood Work (the book is better than the movie). Blood Work (not one of Clint’s better efforts) and The Lincoln Lawyer movie put me off seeking any further screen adaptions and the little I had seen online about the Bosch series did nothing to change that.

Last week, I needed to put new tyres on the truck – winter roads need robust tread – and took the opportunity to have a wander around Taumarunui while I waited for the job to be done. There is an interesting little second-hand shop just off the Main Street down near the supermarket and I can easily kill half an hour exploring its nooks and crannies. I saw Bosch Season One sitting there and walked past it a couple of times but for $5 it was hard to pass up even if I expected it to be quite average.

I had thought that the developers of this series had attempted to squeeze each novel loosely into a single episode but exactly the opposite is the case. For Season One anyway, the ten episodes cover a single novel, in this case City of Bones. The story flows well and the character development is good, It has been a while since I read the book but the series rings true to my memories of it. This first season is based on the eighth novel in the series but then, I never read them in sequence so having a bit of a preview often adds some flavour to later exploring the pre-story. It is a little annoying that the first episodes contain a lot of, too many really, references to other Bosch novel titles in a rather heavy-handed way – not clever or subtle, just annoying but that novelty seems to have worn off by the third episode…

I thought that this was good enough to binge watch the ten episodes over two nights and am keen enough to watch it again to see what subtleties I may have missed on the first time through. It looks like three season have been made so far and I am keeping an eye out for the next two – hopefully Mighty Ape might take the hint from Season Two’s presence on my wishlist to dump it into the Daily Deals for me…

So, yes, Bosch on TV, Season One looks good, recommended, waiting for Season Two…

Cowspiracy

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My green journey started when Bubble asked me if I had seen Cowspiracy…seen it? I had only vaguely heard of it…but in the spirit of learning and breaking down preconceptions (of which, I may or may not have a few), I tracked down a copy, put my feet up one night with a cold root beer and watched…

…and watched…

…and watched…

…but this guy really just didn’t do it for me…nor did his story…

Cowspiracy presents like a ‘real crime’ expose…but the producer is so sure that everything is part of some great but unstated conspiracy but all his smoking guns are wet bus tickets. I think the point is is trying to make – bit never does – is that any sort of dairy farming is unsustainable.

That may or may not be true but his logic never gets to the point and the narrative wonders from one conspiratorial form of commercial agriculture to the next. He accuses Greenpeace and other organisations of being complicit in the conspiracy and then wonders why they don’t want to speak to him – which he then presents as further evidence of the conspiracy.

From my own research I get that feeding cattle wheat-based products has an effect on the environment. I get that this may lead to a profit-motivated clearing of forest for cropland. I get that extensive marketing drives over-consumption of meat products. But Cowspiracy didn’t tell me that. The only things I got from Cowspiracy was the clever title and an unpleasant sensation that ‘antis‘ like the producer of Cowspiracy do more harm than good to their cause and that crossing the road to avoid them is probably a good idea…

But I’m glad that Bubble recommended that I watch it. It made me think and so my own research and develop my own opinion. I love a good steak, dripping with garlic; I love my homemade burgers and nothing beats a good roast on a winter weekend. But, like most things, in moderation. the thing that really discouraged me from commercial meat products was the Hot Doc’s comments about the amount of hormones and other additives in the commercial food chain. So now, I aim for free range or organic chicken and when I do buy meat, it is an unprocessed as possible, no marinades, crumbing, etc…

So good things come from pseudo X-Files exposes like Cowspiracy…and from Cowspiracy, Bubble led me on to That Sugar Movie which is well-produced, logical and inspired me to think about me and sugar…

 

Top Gun Day

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May 13 was, apparently, Top Gun day…

Anyone who is anyone knows that Top Gun is Tom Cruise’s principal contribution to Western culture and that TOPGUN is the place where real aviators do way cooler stuff than was ever in the movie…

Everyone also knows that movies like Top Gun are all about the toys and not about the boys…

topgun256Top Gun was released in 1986 and screened in New Zealand later that same year. I’m pretty sure it was 1986 because it was my first year in the Army and I used to crash on many weekend at my mate’s flat in Picton Ave…handily the corner with Riccarton Road on which the KFC sat…

The good thing about going to the movies in the 80s was that we were spared the torrent of media releases, spoilers, making-of, etc, etc, etc and going to the movie was actually the first part of the experience not the last…

At that time in NZ, Ready to Roll was the weekly TV Top 40 show and that was where we might get an inkling of what a movie was like from the music video. But in 1986, TVNZ had a falling out with the music producers who demanded a royalty for the screening of said music videos. TVNZ’s position was that it was providing free advertising for their product so no way…as a result, we missed some of the better music videos from the mid-80s, of which Top Gun‘s Danger Zone was one…

That Saturday night Top Gun was our movie night pick – we didn’t have great expectations, modern aviation based movies to that point topping out with Blue Thunder and hitting rock bottom with Iron Eagle.  My mate Paul had other plans for the evening so I went with a chap named Dom Kelasih.

Now at the that time, our chose mode of transport around Christchurch was motorbike. When I had come up from Invercargill in January for my infantry training, my first act, like very first, as soon as I rode into town, on arriving was to trade this…

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…in on this…

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I usually rode it with the side covers off as they were only thin ABS and used to keep cracking…this is it all packed for Christmas ’86…from memory, I was house-sitting for a friend in Christchurch and working over the holidays…this is porobably just after the Top Gun incident…

Anyways…so Dom and I sent out in plenty of time from Picton Ave into the movies in the centre of town – from memory, it may have been the Embassy Theatre. The most direct route was through Hagley Park, and a road with some lovely gentle curves. Dom’s chariot of choice at the time was a 50cc ning-ning machine but he rode it like a maniac…right up to the point when the cop parked by the hospital waved him over – and then me,because we were obviously riding together…

We had been travelling a little over the 50kmh urban speed limit and this could have been expensive. I played the soldier card, good old country boy from the wilds for Burnham Military Camp just having a quiet weekend in the city but worried about getting lost and so my only concern was getting lost and keeping up with my guide. Many of these cops were ex-Army and/or Territorials and this was often a successful approach…as it was this time…for me…

Poor old Dom was not quite so lucky being somewhat deficit in some of the his critical documentation, like a license and maybe a warrant of fitness, and rode away a lot poorer…

As a result, we got to the theatre late, although this was the good old days of trailers and shorts so we still got to be seated before the main feature kicked off…seated right at the very front, in the veriest front row…so close to the screen that the action flew (literally for this movie!) beyond the extent of our vision…getting all that glorious ACM from  neck-crickin’ proximity…

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Top Gun is probably the only movie that I have seen that was a pain in the neck in a positive sense – have seen many others that have been pains in the neck – and elsewhere – in more negative contexts…

Of course, we had to revisit it the following night…at a more sedate pace…and from seats more in the viewing sweet spot…

Top Gun…probably one of the best recruiting movies ever made…one of the first blockbusters that introduced an element – in a  very Hollywood manner but who really wants to pay to see a military training movies..? – of what the military really does…

At the time it was also quite topical: earlier in 1986, there had been another misunderstanding between Libya and the US Navy over access to the Gulf of Sidra, one that had been resolved by naval aviation and ELDORADO CANYON was the follow on act to this later that year…As young soldiers, brought up in a Cold War environment  (as close to it as you got down under), we wondered what these events might lead to, especially before the Challenger disaster was found to be the result of a cheap washer and not some Middle Eastern nutjob…

While I’m not convinced that it deserves its own day, Top Gun (two words, only first letters capped!), the movie, the soundtrack, and the ripper quotes, did shape and define our 80s…

 

Stupid?

Should I be concerned when WordPress tells me that people are using the search term ‘stupid‘ to find this blog? It is often quite interesting to see what terms that people are using that bring them here…

There is a steady trickle of searches for Interbella which is good as it shows that a few people out there are starting to get the message that we need a new way of thinking to truly grasp complexity and uncertainty.

There is a lot of interest in the UK’s training simulation JCOVE that I mentioned in Microcosms – I never did get around to reviewing this, or even playing it that much – I simply don’t have time at the moment between job-hunting, blogging and do the work I do have, I am hard-pressed to consider spending too much recreational time in front of the PC. Hopefully I will get over this, possibly when the weather packs up for winter, and I do enjoy sims and have done since my first Sega system in 1988. Sim and training still have a long road to ride together.

At least one person has been feverishly beavering away looking for a paper model of the mighty TSR.2. I can help there as there are four that I know of: the first three are fairly simplistic and should be easy enough to find online. The fourth is a magnificent creation in 1/33 by Waltair at Kartonbau.de – unfortunately there seem to have been some issues with the design and he has pout it back on to the back burner til maybe this year…

Papermodeling.com is still down. It’s been four days now and I think that this is the longest that I have ever known a website to be down for technical reasons. Apparently the problem is that the back-up is very large (very graphics-heavy at a guess) and won’t upload properly. Best laid plans of mouse and men etc but I wonder what liability forum and blog hosts actually have when something like this happens. If this site can not be recovered, an incredible amount of knowledge (on a narrow topic) will be lost. We used to laugh we the Army went to an online personal records system in the early 90s and all the clerks had to maintain paper records of all transactions: there was actually more paper produced and stored than under the old paper-based system! Looking back, maybe they weren’t so dumb after all…?

I have done something to my back that kicks in whenever I sit at my desk in the study, especially in the evenings – any more than an hour or so at the keyboard and it becomes quite uncomfortable. The upside is that It goes away if I keep moving about so in the day I guess it is a good motivator to do some work outside…so today’s rehab has seen part of the vege garden dug up and replanted with beans, the goats and sheep set to work cleaning up the edge of the front lawns, and a start made on a Colditz fence so they can level all the crap that has grown at the top of the back garden without breaking out and obliterating the garden. I have a few less options after dark but stretching out on a couch seems to help so I’m off to finish watching The Wild Geese, a favourite from wayback – should I feel old when I remember seeing this when it was first released in 1978…?

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Return of the King

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No…not some soppy sagawith hobbits, dwarves and elves…the king of the cutting comment, wielder of the blunt blade of too-honest comment, hero of 70s counter-culture, Reggie Perrin is back on TV One. When first screened in about 1976, it was just after my bedtime so I was never quite current on it and had to experience it vicariously through those of my friends with more enlightened parents…

reggie perrin oldWhat a pleasant surprise to find it screening tonight immediately after Doc Martin – well worthy of some really good laughs although you really can help feeling sorry for – and perhaps identifying a bit with – poor old Reggie. A word of warning though, it doesn’t appear that a second season has been picked up yet so a whole new generation may miss out on Grot!

Starship Troopers

It is quite scary that there are people out there (apparently lots of them too!) who think that Starship Troopers is only a crap movie from the late 90s with a great shower scene…it would be interesting some day to consider the effects of digital media upon the depth of our society’s knowledge…whereas we once read books, we now wait for the movie; once we read the paper over breakfast or at work and got not only the news but insightful commentary, now we scan the headlines on out iPhones in search of the sensational or titillating…

There is a discussion on The Long War, Counterinsurgency Operations, and the Future of the Armed Forces on Sic Semper Tyrannis.  Based upon a short paper of the same name by Adam Silverman, It discusses among other things, the value or not of the draft and of legislative process in going to war (real war with shooting, guns and things, not war on obesity, drugs, poverty or other social ailments). While it is generally accepted that the draft, while nice to talk about, is not a viable option now, it does identify the need for “…A discussion and debate over the nature of service and the nature of what everyone is required to contribute as a citizen in exchange for our rights and responsibilities would be a long overdue public good…” The global  “me, me, me” society of today has forgotten that the relationship between the elements of Clausewitz’s Trinity is symbiotic and NOT geared solely for the pleasure and comfort of ‘the people’.

The discussion also touches upon the tiers of citizenship upon which Heinlein’s Starship Troopers society is built: there are citizens and civilians – to become a citizen with its attendant privileges AND responsibilities, a civilian must volunteer to serve. Although interwined with Heinlein’s own philosophies on life, politics and society, it is one of his better, less openly satirical reads and strikes on a number of levels. At face value, it is simply a ripping good scifi war yarn; at another, it delves into the relationships between those who serve and those who opt not to. At yet another  level, it provides an aspirational insight into the empty battlefield or distributed operations – IF you have the right combination and level of mobility, situational awareness, firepower and devolved decision-making to avoid simple defeat in detail. I would humbly submit that no military force has attain these goals yet and that those who may be closest are those who we currently face…

So…Starship Troopers…find and read a copy of the book – the whole unabridged version (no cheating with Reader’s Digest)…it is available via Audible so you can ‘read’ while on the commute or cycling/rowing/stepping in the gym…the movie is only good for some lightweight voyeurism, a not bad soundtrack and some cool spaceship designs of which the Rodger Young can be seen being built on Paper Modelers (not 1:1 though…).

Them’s the breaks

One thing that really bugs me about so much contemporary doctrine and writing is the way in which we as the ‘good guys’ are portrayed as inept numpties and the insurgents/criminals/terrorists are painted as unstoppable unbeatable uber-bogeymen. It was so very refreshing, then, to receive this paper by Lincoln  Krause on the mistakes that insurgents commonly make and as suggested in the paper, perhaps a gap in FM 3-24 that might be filled in the next go-round? These are the types of things that we need to be teaching in conjunction with the things that an adversary might do well and advantages that they may have over us, especially if we opt to let them maintain those advantages…

The Dark Side of the Information Militia

And probably the one we are the most familiar with…damn hackers…but the penny openly dropped for me this morning reading this Wired article Hackers Brew Self-Destruct Code to Counter Police Forensics which came in through Linked-In. Of course there is a dark to every light and I should have picked up on this way earlier…

Neptunus Lex calls it a travesty and he ain’t wrong. The rise and fall of a military blogger illustrates the difficulties of trying to restrain modern information technologies with rules and regulations designed for bygone days where paper and the typing pool ruled. no wonder the bad guys are all over us in the cybersphere. There is no way to protect our information now other than through education – the more draconian the rules we implement, the more chinks in the armour will be made – and exploited…In a very brief but uber-broad post, The Strategist links to a couple of articles on the whys and why-nots of taking the war to cyberspace – personally I think that the Guardian article on the why-nots is weak and bordering on pitiful – maybe the author was strapped for an idea and just churned it out to meet a deadline? Those same ‘citizens’ who bleat upon civil liberties are also those who bleat loudest when the fascist pig police don’t divert 100% of their resources to lock up the thugs who tagged their mailbox, and are those who would sacrifice the least for the common good…me, me, me…I agree totally with John Arquilla at Foreign Policy on the whys: so long as we cry about the adversaries’ use of information technologies against us and do nothing about it, we are artificially constraining ourselves and that’s a helluva way to run a war – the COIN Review found that mastering the COE will require us to master information fusion from a range and depth of sources the likes of we have never consider before. More so, as we adopt Michael Scheiern’s concept of individual-based tracking, cyberspace is where we must also find the individuals and track them…

I also agree with Peter’s crystal ball comment re the UK – a la Once Was An Empire which is symptomatic of the decay that is now becoming visible…

On the lighter side of the Information Militia, Steven Pressfield discusses the philosophy of Giving It Away – taking the plunge and not holding out for me, me, me direct physical rewards for one’s labours… looking at the big picture and the long game instead…

I wish WordPress had an Unpublish button as I hit Publish by mistake and now have to complete today’s post ‘live’ as it were….

Islam’s First Heretics

A brief by interesting article on Coming Anarchy

COIN, Training and Education

Small War Journal has a couple of good discussions going on: Counterinsurgency and Professional Military Education; Integrating COIN into Army Professional Education; The Army Capstone Concept: the Army wants your comments Feel free to leap in and value add…

I sing you to me…

…just finished watching Australia…and really liked it…in my younger days I had a soft spot for those Aussie mini-series like Sword of Honour, The Flying Doctors, The Last Frontier, etc…I think that they are something that Australia does really well and that it’s a good indicator of the domestic maturity of your film industry when you can make a movie about yourself where everybody DOESN’T die in the last five minutes, that isn’t controversial or revisionist and that keeps legends alive…we’ve become very good at making other people’s movies here, when will we see New Zealand?

To be honest, I still have a soft spot for movies with a upbeat conclusion – I really don’t need much reminding that the world can be a bad place and that the bad guys usually win and the little guy always gets ground down – I just don’t want to be reminded in ‘my’ time so I guess I am a bit of a sucker for true blue hero stories…more so when accompanied by a good soundtrack. Waltzing Matilda makes me sad from the time I first saw the original On the Beach: no longer upbeat but haunting…

Taking a break

Today anyway and only from the generations of war thing – not because I have lost interest at all but because I am doing the accounts this week and it’s not much fun and any distractions are welcomed but dangerous.

John Birmingham has two blogs at the Brisbane Times and The Geek is by far the most fun. His recent item on Dr Who is worthy of posting in it’s entirety:

Who’s the master of cool sci-fi (not a question)
November 13, 2009

Have you ever noticed that when a bunch of geeks gather around the campfire to nut out once and for all the important question of what was the coolest science fiction TV series ever, that the actual coolest science fiction TV series ever almost never gets a look in. Why is there no lovin’ for Dr. Who?

Stargate SG1 is always pushing to the front of the line blowing everybody out of the way, goosing Star Trek, snorting in derision at the original BSG and Space 1999 (with good reason, admittedly). But where does it get off calling itself the longest-running sci-fi series on TV. That would be the Doctor you’re gazzumping there Jack. He first appeared on our screens back in 1963… and he’s still here. Not just in syndication and repeats either.

Sure the effects were crap in the early days. Okay, they were crap right up until cheap CGI and more generous production budgets meant the most recent series didn’t have to build their aliens out of old garbage bins and lengths of rubber hose. But go back and look at some of those original Star Trek episodes and hang your head in shame American sci-fi TV producers. I mean, tribbles, come on, really?

So great is the show’s longevity of course that eleven actors have cycled through the lead role, and God knows how many supporting cast have been there with the Doc, twisting their ankles, getting captured, occasionally getting killed, and generally raising the question of why he bothers with traveling companions anyway since they just get in the way or cause cliffhangers every 22 minutes. But putting that aside, which other serious, sci-fi or mainstream, can claim to have survived a change in lead actor so regularly, or even once.

Much as I liked Ben Browder’s character on Farscape for instance, he was really just Jack O’Neill lite in the later SG1 series.

And where most TV shows get weaker as they get older, Dr. Who has arguably grown stronger with the years. Partly this is a function of great writers and producers coming to the latest series of in a spirit of paying homage to a much loved show from their childhood, partly it’s to do with increased production values, and partly the Doc has hung around for so long he couldn’t help but benefit from the improved aesthetics of the medium as it matured. Bottom line however, it has improved while other series, particularly some big-budget American shows (yes Lost, I’m looking at you, and your mate Heroes) have all but sputtered out creatively after a couple of good early years.

So let the word go forth from this time and this place that I have settled this debate once and for all. Dr. Who is the coolest TV sci-fi series ever made.

While Stingray is my first memory of ANY TV series, it is also my first memory of a science-fiction show, followed closely by Forbidden Planet: both had me squinting at the screen through my fingers from an early age…three perhaps…? But it was Dr Who that sits still at the top of the heap: I was terrified by the Abominable Snowmen, Cybermen and Daleks (the Big 3 – all the rest, including the over-rated Master are Tier Two scaries) but refused to miss my weekly doses of terror. I still recall almost crapping myself when I was 7 or 8: running around the shadowy passages of Dad’s squash club, I turned a corner and ran smack into an oversized badminton shuttle. Obviously it must have been some sort of promo item but it was as tall as me and it definitely looked like a Dalek. I was adios amigo and refused to go back there for weeks.

I lost interest during the latter part of the Tom Baker years – possibly because the Beeb was starting to chew through the Doctors and some of them were pretty silly; or equally possibly because teenage boys develop other interests. I had a brief resurgence of interest when the US-made movie came out in the 90s (had Eric Roberts in it?) and then that was it until 2005. The new series had come out but I’d dissed it believing that it would just be a shoddy rip-off of the 60s and 70s classics. On my return from CLAW 1 in Salisbury, we were spending the weekend with friends in Rotorua; Dr Who just happened to be on during dinner (Bad Wolf, I think the episode was) and I became interested very quickly.

Although I have lapped up Season 2-4, I have still to see most of Season 1 (too cheap to pay full price and waiting for the box set price to drop). JB is correct: Dr Who IS the most enduring science fiction show around; yes, there are those that are older but NONE that have been develped and evolved so consistently over four decades and into a fifth. Thunderbirds is as enduring but is a year younger and has not evolved from the original series – still a bit hit with young kids today though.

While I was a big fan of all the other Gerry Anderson series, nowadays there have more of a cult fascination appeal (apart from Thunderbirds) than serious interest. UFO was the centre of my known universe when I was 10 and 11 but now it seems vaguely pretentious and overdone -still very cools toys though – and, yes, I too was going to build my own Moonbase (on the Moon, of course) and use my secret organisation defend the world from the Aliens. Still might but if so I really do need to pull my finger out…

If I was to have my Top Five science fiction series they would be:

  • Thunderbirds. Everything EXCEPT Jonathan Frakes’ miserable 2004 movie.
  • Bablylon 5. Up until the end of Series 4 – after the two big storylines were dealt to, Series 5 seemed a bit anticlimatic.
  • Dr Who. Everything from the very first episode to the Series 5 teaser episodes.
  • New Captain Scarlet. Please, please do more with this: the animation is great, and it builds upon the gritty dark side of the original series.
  • Firefly. The whole series + Serenity. A great concept that just didn’t quite get the support it needed although Serenity did really tie-off the original storyline so they would have needed a new one for further series.

I enjoy Star Trek in chunks but actually prefer the books, especially William Shatner’s first trilogy. Voyager and TNG were great once they figured out that violence was OK; Deep Space Nine was like Star Trek does Mallrats and just boring; but I do have a bit of a soft spot for Enterprise possibly because they can not use the transporter or time travel to get themselves out of narly situations. I do have the Star Trek Borg and Animated Series sets though and and do rate them quite highly.

I’m also a big BSG (both series) fan but in terms of a top five, the original is a bit campy now, and the rethink version is just a little too complex and intertwined to be enduring for me.

Farscape, Andromeda, Stargate? Whatever…just light relief.

What’s on at the movies at 38,000 feet?

I did promise some people I would do this so here it is today – I do have some more TFW ideas to punt up but left one of the source docs behind this morning so will aim to do that tomorrow (social schedule allowing!!)…

Singapore Airlines do everything with class and style and their entertainment capability is no different…in two legs I was able to catch up on six movies that have yet to screen in National Park (yeah, really…) as well as have dinner and have a damn fine snooze as well…

star rek 2009

First up from the selection of 60-70 movies was Star Trek which I enjoyed immensely but was somewhat annoyed at the seemingly pointless and unnecessary departures from established Star Trek canon (no pointy ears here but I do like consistency in a universe). I hope that a further release in this series will somehow re-establish the accepted timeline (noting that James Tiberius and Spock didn’t actually experience distortions in the space-time continuum til The Original Series. If William Shatner (writing almost autobiographically) can skillfully blend TOS, TNG and the movies (even the real bad ones from later in the series) together in a consistent manner, I saw no reason why this film could not also conform without deviating much at all from the actual story line. It was like it was trying to shock the audience and I for one wasn’t shocked just pissed off…

angels abnds demonsAngels and Demons on the other hand was great: not great drama or earth-shattering story but just a good story well-told with no aspirations to be anything else. It is not time-tied to The Da Vinci Code so it doesn’t matter which one you watch first – some nice twisty bits near the end just in case you think you’ve worked it all out ahead of time…

night museum 2Night at the Museum II: The Smithsonian – more of the same, light entertainment only…

terminator slavationTerminator Salvation – the storyline is finally back of track after the crap Terminator 3 albeit with yet another John Connor – good connections back to the first two movies but nothing really earth-breaking in terms of the story – at the end it felt like a long TV episode than the revelatory feel of 1 and 2

xmen wolverineX-Men Wolverine…great stuff, even as a prequel, it isn’t cute and doesn’t dick around with the accepted storyline…

battle for terraThe Battle for Terra – a real disappointment that I only watched because it distracted me from the potential effects of a dodgy curry at Changi just before we boarded – an animated movie will a weak story line clearly churned out now in order to be on DVD as a stocking stuffer by Christmas – don’t buy it, get another copy of  Toy Story or Monsters Inc instead – the kids will love you more for it…

Beautiful summer’s day in Shrivenham and the CLAW is in full swing now….