CRRRaSh! 288 It Definitely Did Not Take the Biscuit

By Roy Mathur, on 2019-11-10, at 23:57:54 to 00:47:48 GMT, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

No Fireworks, Remembrance Sunday

Divali, Halloween, and Guy Fawkes? I drew the line at Guy Fawkes Night. It seems a distasteful thing to celebrate. Anyway, I'm on my own, so after a mentioning the other two events both on social media and in the podcast, a third just seems like I'm trying too hard to convince everyone that my life is just so full and wonderful. Bloody social media.

Oh, and, all joking aside, a respectful Remembrance Day greeting to everyone.

Dublin Murders

This is an enjoyable BBC show about two detectives with secrets investigating a child murder. I found it watchable and I liked the chemistry between the pair. I also liked the smattering of ancient Irish mythology thrown in.

The breakthrough moment, when the lead detective cracks the case because of a chocolate digestive, was ridiculously implausible. It definitely did not take the biscuit.


I saw the first double-bill episode of AMC's Shudder show. This is a 2019 TV reboot of 80s films of Stephen King short stories, and the loosely related (and badly rated) 2006 film.

It is the very definition of cosy horror; it's horrific, but not enough to give you nightmares.

This new show contains adapted stories for King, but also others, including some younger trending writers like Joe Hill and Josh Malerman.

I recommend this show, particularly because it captures the magic of those old pulp horror comics, like those from EC Comics. The World War Two werewolf episode rocks! Aoowwoo!

Totally tangential trivia time. Is that model kid in the doll house playing a Rickenbacker 4000 series bass? (I.e. Lemmy's of Motorhead's weapon of choice). If it is, then that's a very specific rock reference from Josh Malerman, which makes sense as the Bird Box author is actually in a rock band.

For All Mankind

Apple's excellent science fiction alternative history of the space age. The USSR makes the first Moon landing and the USA rushes to catch up. I liked how the show dealt with NASA's Nazi rocketry genius Wernher von Braun. The show doesn't pull punches, which was great because, as a space nut, the man sourced via Operation Paperclip has always posed a moral quandary for me. It also addresses the very white, very male, hypocritical lack of diversity at NASA. I found it episode three emotionally wrenching and brilliant as it redresses the injustice of the formerly scrapped all female Mercury 13 programme. The debate about Molly's sexuality is very funny.


Apple's diverse and original post-apocalyptic science fiction/fantasy action show. I enjoyed the very different, tribal, and slightly Polynesian idea of future culture, but the show is incredibly poorly executed with a boring script and wooden lead actors. I lasted less than twenty minutes. What a pity.

Le Guerre Du Mondes

This year the BBC re-adapts H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds, but a co-production between CanalPlus and Fox has beaten them to the punch with a modern loose adaptation. Spoiler warning! The killer cyborgs are uncomfortably reminiscent of a lethally armed version of Boston Dynamics's LittleDog (which, equally uncomfortably, would be really easy to arm). It also features an extrasolar earth-like planet, SETI gone wrong, undocumented immigration, societal chaos, and a nice nasty twist at the end of the season. Despite poor ratings, I thought it topical and interesting. My only criticism is that it should only be one season. If you are not bilingual in English and French, you'll need subtitles.


In English Duty/Shame is a 2019 BBC show about a Tokyo cop unofficially investigating his supposedly dead brother in London, who has somehow killed a Yakuza member, which starts a war between rival gangs in Tokyo.

Engaging, but the unsteady tones swinging wildly between tragedy and comedy and the dance number rubbed me the wrong way. The women's revenge on the biker was brilliant and I loved the beach scene.

His Dark Materials

BBC TV adaptation of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials.

I thought it better than the previous film, but Daniel Craig seems more Asriel-like than James McAvoy.

I didn't like it because I don't like the plot of the books these adaptations are based on. The Dust plot just didn't grab me, and the same idea of a stifling monstrous and controlling church was something I had already been disturbed by through books like Richard Cowper's (John Middleton Murry Jr.) White Bird of Kinship trilogy; The Road to Corlay (1978), A Dream of Kinship (1981), and A Tapestry of Time (1982), and Keith Roberts Pavane (1968).

That isn't to say I don't like Pullman's work as I really enjoyed his novella Clockwork (1996).

The King

This is a 2019 loose Netflix re-telling of Shakespeare's equally massaged historical plays, Henry IV Part I, Henry IV Part I, and Henry V about young Prince Henry (Hal/Henry V). It's very dark and gory and unpleasant, but it doesn't shy away from the essence of the play which is about how Henry changes when he becomes king.

The reviews are mixed, but generally good, except in France, where I read in a Telegraph article written by Henry Samuel on the 4th November, that the director of the Agincourt museum regards the film as ammunition for the British right wing and a glossing over of Henry, who he regards as a war criminal. In the article, Monsieur Christophe Gilliot says:

I'm outraged. The image of the French is really sullied. The film has Francophobe tendencies...The British far-Right are going to lap this up, it will flatter nationalist egos over there...

The film may not be historically accurate, it does overplay the cleverness of the English and the stupidity of the French, but it does not make the English nobility or army look like humanitarians. I'm fairly certain there would a be a nice cosy cell at The Hague waiting for Henry if they had such a thing at the time. It's certainly less propaganda driven than the original play or Kenneth Branagh's 1989 adaptation.

For a film about King Henry V, made by Australians and Americans, the accents of the main players did not seem irksome, except that of Robert Pattinson. In fact, Pattinson, who I usually rate, is abysmal in this movie, playing an unpleasant stereotype of a villainous Frenchman.

The regime change explanation by one the king's advisers is intentionally modern and lends the dialogue between the two a modern air.

I had a similar childhood to the young star Timothee Chalamet, but his French is excellent, whilst mine is non-existent, apart from the odd phrase, and being able to follow about fifty percent of French dialogue without a lughole-lodged Babel fish.

I think it is a little self-serving that the screenplay for the movie is partly written by the actor playing a retconned heroic Falstaff, when he's a drunken, cowardly oaf in the play.

Conclusion? It's a grim and bloody, and a well acted, directed, and realised medieval saga, and I am so very glad that I wasn't alive back then.

Google Charging for Storage

It has begun; the inevitable loss of services we previously paid for by having our data harvested. The additional money Google make by using underpaid temps, stifling unions, and seeking out lucrative military contracts clearly isn't enough for one of the richest companies in the world. Since they have users tied into their services and over a barrel, they feel it is safe to now charge for storage.

What to do? For Gmail, you can set up IMAP, then use a desktop client like Thunderbird to archive your mail locally and delete old mail on Google's server. Ultimately? I'm sorry, but maybe it's time you stopped relying on "free" and started paying for your own email and web hosts. I would recommend a similar strategy to use of any "free" web service. Even TANSTAAFL.

"Don't be evil?" "Do the right thing." Don't make me laugh.

Too Many Different Streaming Services?

Listener Saul Garnell (@sgarnell) asked me these questions on Twittter on the 1st of November:

...what are your thoughts on HBOMax? Disney Plus killer? And can Apple TV+ survive this more competitive field.
Are Disney and WB creating brand walls to lock consumers in. Will we see more consolidation of studios around big streaming channels. Can people afford all these new streams?

HBOMax is nowhere near a Disney killer; Disney own the Star Wars universe. HBOMax might have Game of Thrones and Westworld, but they start next year, which is later than Disney Plus, whose The Mandalorian starts in two days time, and at USD 14.99/month are twice as expensive as Disney Plus.

Yes, AppleTV+ will survive. They already have a hit show and they didn't limit themselves to "family friendly" in the end (thank god) .

Lock-in? Yes, that is what they are hoping; look at Apple; hardware, credit cards, and now TV. Look at Amazon; they own the entire world.

Consolidation? No, more like buyouts, which wouldn't be great for competition either. Disney already owns too much IP.

Affordability? No. How many streaming services do you want to pay for? I will say, however, that living in the UK means all TV owners generally pay a hefty licence fee to the BBC of GBP 154.50 (USD 197.37), so count yourself lucky.

Conclusion? It's a mistake to bundle too much stuff together, like See and For All Mankind for GBP 4.99 per month, rather than just GBP 1.00 per show. It really should be easy to pick-and-mix shows. I can't see this happening through one third party app any time soon because of licensing issues and competition between streaming services. It's a giant mess and will drive people towards either signing on for a particular show and then signing off when that show finishes or piracy, simply because it's easier than having ten different apps and accounts that you have to keep track of.

Thanks for the questions Saul; streaming is a really important and contentious topic in media right now. I know that was a incomplete answer, but "needs must" etc. But, as we are both creatives (genre authors), perhaps this is also an opportunity for more content to be adapted. Our content. They keep saying the geeks won, don't they? I'll let you know when I get an agent, I'm sitting on a movie set, in a chair marked "writer", swigging back a giant G and T, chilling with Werner Herzog, and stifling giggles as I try not to mention Nosferatu the Vampyre (what a stinker!)

Feed Tidying

I am cleaning up my feed, sprucing up the show notes, and linking the oldest shows to their corresponding notes.

It's an ongoing process, but this means if you go back to the first few recordings in your podcast app, you should now be able to access the notes.

YouTube Copyright Strikes

As you know, I convert my podcasts to YouTube videos as a way of reaching a wider audience. Unfortunately, YouTube have sent me a copyright notice and blocked one video.

Since the beginning, I've used clips and trailers as a fundamental way of talking about media. Taking them out now would destroy my content. So, sadly, from now on, no more clips.

I'm just so glad I'm not a proper YouTuber or blogger anymore and, the thing is, I only have nineteen subscribers on YouTube anyway, compared to thousands of podcast listeners per month according to Awstats.

No biggie. Yet.


I'm pretty bad, but not terrible. I'm only a doodler, but I'm getting better. The main issue is time.

But I'm trying to do something apart from writing, podcasting, and music once a week, and I really like Schultz.