CRRRRS 443 The Man Who Faceplanted to Earth

By Roy Mathur, on 2022-06-06, at 23:04:40--23:41:20 BST, for Captain Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show, Listen


It's been one of those weeks at Castle Royenstein. Family issues, my right ear was blocked to buggery, and I had migraines up the tailpipe. So I took a break from podcasting and left the you, the listeners, to enjoy the latest episodes for a few days, while I annoyed the medical professionals.

The ear is now unblocked, no thanks to the NHS, who, thanks to the Tories, no longer treat blocked ears (skin tags, cysts, and actually it's a long list. Bravo imbeciles, who voted Brexit or Conservative). My migraines? A cockup arranging the appointment online, meant I wasted the entire morning today and I'm still no wiser. Bloody GP.

And in actual geek news, the annual Star Wars Celebration happened in Anaheim, LA, May 26--29. No, of course I wasn't there. Money, you know? I watched some of it on YouTube instead.

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

As I said in 442, I started my latest rereading of the HHGTTG on Towel Day. I'm now up to weird Southend in chapter 8. Ahhh... the smell of book. Ah... chips and donuts.


Hellraiser is a film I love and have talked about on this pod, but the original was always a bit off-kilter with all that transatlantic nonsense.

We've also talked about possible remakes before, so here's an update. It's greenlit and will be a show. After-all, this is an age of televisual renaissance.

If anyone does not already know, it's adapted from a horror story by Clive Barker about a gateway to a hell dimension that is opened and the fall out the ensues.

Though I'll miss Bradley Walsh, who's a bit too old to be playing the iconic Pinhead, and the rest of the original and excellent cast, I'm ready for the new show. I've waited for a long time for a lot more and better Clive Barker adaptations and reboots.

William Gibson

Mostly, I hate reboots, but some material deserves a second chance. So, while we're talking reboot, let's reboot William Gibson's back catalogue.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Star Wars spin-off settles as a Disney show and finally airs. In it we follow Obi-Wan, post-fall of the Republic, sent by Master Yoda to the desert wastes of Tatooine to safeguard Luke and on a quest to master the ability to speak to force ghosts like his old master, Qui-Gon Jinn. We are also introduced to new major players; the Sith-ish, Jedi-hunting Inquisitors, and old faces/masks, i.e. Darth Vader, played by Hayden Christensen, and voiced by the immortal James Earl Jones. Yes!

There has been some kickback from online racist trolls whining about African American Moses Ingram's excellently portraying cruel and broken Inquisitor Reva. Targeting the trolls, I asked for comments. Utterly predictably, no one responded. I would put this down to mine being a small pod, but I've got reaction for saying much less in the past. Cowards.

Stranger Things

I've watched season 4 volume 1 of Stranger Things. This season, out heroes confront a malevolent dark wizard further up the Upside Down's chain of command than the Demogorgon. Given that we haven't had a boss fight with the Mind Flayer yet, I'm envisioning one more season until wrap. This season is enjoyable across the board, except I'm finding the de-aging of Eleven weird. My favourite new character is nerdy bad boy dungeon master of the Hellfire DnD Club (how can any of those words go together?) Eddie Munson, played by British actor Joseph Quinn.

But. Stranger Things is one of those few shows I've mostly enjoyed all the way through (even season 2), until I read about it's alleged plagiarism lawsuits. I thought the show's stylistic derivation/homage to 80s genre (ET, Goonies, etc.) acceptable, though occasionally grating. But the snatching of content and FX, even if copyright doesn't protect ideas, is pretty low behaviour. So far, two content creators sued the show; one settled, the other's case is ongoing.

There is also the Duffer Brother's apology for on-set abuse.

Are these problems going to kill the show? No, it's a juggernaut. Am I going to stand on my principles and ditch the show? No, I've invested too much time in the story and characters. I love the DnD rock metal nerdery of the Hellfire Club that makes us geeks look cool. I even have a Stranger Things t-shirt, but when the show finally ends, I'm going to be looking sideways at anything the Duffers do.

The Boys

Season 3 of The Boys began a few weeks ago and we pick up where we left off. Surprising no one, Homelander continues to escalate and a very transparent conspiracy is revealed. I find it absolutely fascinating and refreshing that, as vile as Homelander is, he does not seem to be portrayed as having any kind of mental illness whatsoever.

It's topical and relevant; American gun ownership, Islamaphobia, mega-corporations, to name but a few. It's funny and nasty (Ant-Man did what?), and the otherwise excellent Karl Urban still has an accent that stinks.

Forget edgelordism, this thing has so much edge it hurts. (Well, it is based on Garth Ennis's work, so...). For the same reason, there's only so much stand-up comedy I can stand, so I'm glad they spread the release.

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, The Man Who Fell to Earth is a sequel TV series to the 1976 movie, and premiered on Showtime on 24 April 2022. I have talked about how much I love the 1976 film based on the 1963 novel by Walter Tevis many times on this podcast, so this show has a lot to live up to.

In the show, Faraday (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an alien from the planet Anthea arrives on Earth. Like his predecessor, Thomas Jerome Newton, he is on a mission to save their home planet.

I hoped that the sequel wouldn't try to copy the iconic style of the 1976 film; due largely to Nick Roeg's fabulous cinematographer, Anthony Barry Richmond. In any case, the mid-70s movie had a distinctive unreplicatable look of it's time. But oh my god how they tried to do exactly that. The fonts, the light, the dust, and even some scenes. I did not have appreciate it and thought it rather shallow to attempt as much.

The acting? Uncharacteristic ham from the mostly brilliant Chiwetel Ejiofor. The renowned actor plays the alien like Robin William's Mork from the Mork and Mindy sitcom. Stumbling, wide-eyed, the only thing he's missing is beep beep noises. How is possible that ex-rock star David Bowie, could out-perform an experienced and respected thespian like Ejiofor? Naomie Harris is actually not bad, but usually excellent character actor Bill Nighy lazily plays Bill Nighy, not an aged version of Thomas Jerome Newton. I can only theorise that the crap acting was a silent protest when some of the Brit continent read the script and realised the garbage they had signed up for.

And racism? There's a way to do racism in sci-fi, Twelve Years a Slave, Egiofor has the chops and the topic was handled well in Z for Zacariah. Here? First, get this: Anthea is a planet of white "adepts" and "drones" like black Faraday apparently. If you didn't get the allegory, Bill Nighy's Newton laughingly relates to us the irony of this by saying the word that describes Egiofor's Faraday on Earth begins with "N". Really?! The miserable script is unsubtle pestilential sputum as a meditation on race. It is actually worse than Robert Heinlein's notorious Farnham's Freehold.

It is highly unfortunate that I'm left with the impression that creators Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet are literally tone deaf and simply went through a box-ticking exercise in relevancy about things they genuinely don't care about, or don't understand; tech billionaires, environment, racism, etc. Hamfistedly they also box-ticked fanservice by slapping on a few callbacks to the original, like the pawn shop scene. They even threw in the odd Bowie-isms, for example, Bill Nighy saying, "Wake up, you sleepy-head." There are a lot, so gird your loins.

I feel let down in the extreme, but you know what? This will soon be dead and buried and vanish without a trace, and we'll still have the excellent 1963 novel and 1976 film. As for Alex Kurtzman? I'm not a hater, not even of Star Trek Into Darkness, but I also won't forget that he made this drivel. Deep breath, and that's it. I'm finished, and just because I didn't like it, unlike those toxic, racist trolls whining about Obi-Wan Kenobi, I'm not going to stalk or victimise people on social media.

Tangent: there was also an ABC television film made in 1987, made as a pilot for an uncommissioned TV series I have not seen.

Positivity? Pah!

This has not been the most positive of week, but when the show is over I'm going to bed with The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and tune out the rest of the universe. Ahhh...

Other than that, I've also decided to turn my online text based game, Rider in the Mist, into a DnD campaign. More on that later.