Letters from Imagination Connoisseurs for Friday, December 18, 2020 talk about the new iteration of The Stand, Charlie Jade – a South African sci-fi series, and that thing with the Mandolorian guy in it. Oh yeah, that.
Letters from Imagination Connoisseurs for Friday, December 18, 2020.
About that season finale for The Mandolorian …
I just finished watching the season finale of The Mandalorian, and DUDE!!!
Such an amazing ending to a season! Hell, it’s an amazing conclusion to a STORY! I suspected how the season COULD play out, but seeing it all come together was SO SATISFYING. And infuriating! But more on that last part in a bit.
This episode had a genuine emotional resonance right from the start. The interaction between Cara Dune & the shuttle pilot was amazing! So much solid dramatic tension that, to borrow an overused cliche, you could cut it with a knife. Gina might not be what many consider to be “a top-tier actor,” but she sold THE FUCK outta that scene.
Then there’s the “assembly of the crew” scene & the interaction between Fett & the remainder of the rescue team. HOLY. CRAP. In just a few short minutes, the writers AND actors managed to add more dimension & nuance to these characters than I’ve seen in THREE SEASONS of another show that shall remain unnamed, lest this letter cause the reading to be derailed by a discussion of said show.
Not only was this scene well-acted, it actually MADE SENSE. EVERY line of dialogue was consistent with what has previously been established about the characters involved, and equally important, it was consistent with the LORE that has been established over the last several decades. It’s almost as though the writers actually UNDERSTAND the universe they’re playing in.
It’s almost as though they actually LOVE it as much as the fans and viewers do.
Speaking of “love”…
That final, spoileriffic reveal. DUDE!!!
At the first teasing hint of “this element’s” approach in space, I just KNEW it had to be what I hoped, but I also hated myself for being gullible enough to let myself feel that New Hope. After all, we’ve ALL been down this road before: Like Lucy in the old Peanuts comic strips, the subject of our adoration holds out The Football that represents our hope that the producers will GET IT RIGHT.
And, like Charlie Brown, we have repeatedly had that hope ruthlessly yanked away at the last minute, leaving us sitting on our ass wondering “Why?”
As the scene played out, and the truth of what I was watching was revealed, I was blindsided by a wave of emotion I never thought I’d feel again while watching something called “Star Wars.”
You know the way Kirk’s voice broke during his “most… HUMAN” line? That’s the same kind of hitch I had in my voice as I quietly exclaimed in disbelief, “Oh my god!”
I’m not gonna lie, man. This live-actually cartoon show actually made this grown-assed man tear up.
It was awesome. Every bit of the story, going back to episode one of the first season, actually FIT TOGETHER and MADE SENSE.
And here’s where the “infuriating” bit I mentioned at the beginning of my letter comes in. This series has clearly demonstrated that the folks running Star Wars CAN tell a good story. All they have to do is use people who actually KNOW what Star Wars is, and who actually LIKE it enough to put some effort into it. But instead, what we got was the clusterfuck know as the Sequel Trilogy.
Sorry if I offend any Sequel fans out there, but to put it as mildly as I can, those movies fucking SUCKED.
With the Sequel Trilogy, Disney displayed an infuriating disregard for both the story they were playing in and the fans of that universe. It’s like they said, “Fuck ‘em. Let em eat shit. We’ll just dress the shit up like Star Wars, and those idiots will eat it up, no matter how much it stinks.”
And then, with The Mandalorian, they show us that they COULD have made the films great, if only they had tried.
But enough about that. No use crying over spilled blue milk. I’m just gratified that Disney has FINALLY managed to produce some GOOD Star Wars. Fingers-crossed that they continue the trend.
MTFBWU & LLAP,
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What’s so good about THE STAND is what makes the 2020 version so frustrating.
I’ve strung together my tweet thread from our discussion yesterday about the Stand. I can’t imagine how hard it is to live broadcast AND try to untangle the spaghetti that is a tweet thread with multiple replies (which forks off into it’s own timeline like some potential MCU plot every time someone responds). So again, sorry for the multiple tweets….it really should have been a letter.
Anyway, it was all under the context that someone in the production felt that the beginning third of the Stand was “boring” to which you had pondered on twitter if they had even read the Stand. That’s when I came in with all that spaghetti:
Pardon the multiple tweets, but this is something (like you) I feel strongly about. The first third of the novel is THE singular thing that made me fall in love with reading for pleasure and with King’s writing in general.
He would take two pages describing a person and the setting they were in in meticulous detail. His writing made you invested in THAT character. And then they would cough…..and you knew that was the last you were ever going to hear about that person.
And it was this level of detail he would give to someone about to die that made you, the reader, invested in what’s going on. You felt the stakes of what was happening. And the literary balls it took to do this amazed me. It quite literally made me see reading differently.
To pass that off as boring is fundamentally missing the point of the entire novel AND not understanding King at a molecular level. It’s still my favorite book of all time because and solely because of the set up.
(this maybe should have been a letter to the Burnettwork, huh?)
Then you tweeted: Absolutely agreed. And don’t apologize…I could talk THE STAND all day.
Then I responded:
Oh, this thread could have easily been 100 tweets just about the beginning of the Stand (especially the Extended version). King describing the contents of a room and why something innocuous meant something to the character only to kill them in three pages is just amazing to me.
I don’t know if you’ll ever revisit The Stand or not, or if you’ll ever need to return to this topic, but the least I could do was untangle the big mess of spaghetti for you if you ever do. Would you like some fresh grated parmesan on that, sir?
Hoping to send more actual letters in the future,
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A South African import worth considering: Charlie Jade
Just wanted to say, I mostly enjoy your shows. Sometimes the title entices me, but the title subject is buried somewhere in the video and it’s hard to find. A few markers might help.
I watch a lot of YouTube content similar to yours, I’m sure you have heard of most of them, and one series I’ve never heard anyone review is a one season wonder out of South Africa titled “Charlie Jade”.
It was originally aired in 2005 in many different parts of the world and made it to the Sci Fi channel in 2007. It is probably the BEST story ever based on the multi-universe theory.
Knowing how difficult it is to follow these types of stories, not knowing what universe a scene might be taking place in, they addressed this problem by using different colored film stock for each universe. If the scene has a greenish tint to it, it is one universe, while another may have a blueish tint. The series is available on Amazon Prime and there are 20 episodes. While it is only a single season, it wraps up the story nicely while leaving an opening for a next season. Also, compared to what is called a series these days, “The Mandolorian” with 8 half-hour episodes, it’s the equivalent of a current day series with 3 seasons.
I’m suggesting this series to you since I think it’s something you would really enjoy. Knowing that you just did a review of another one season wonder, “The Prisoner”, I think this one might be right up your alley. (God, I watched “The Prisoner” as a little boy with my parents when it originally aired and it was the first series I got from Netflix on DVD back in the day.) I liked the way you did that with Az, sort of like a book club review, and I think watching “Charlie Jade” with another reviewer would be just as entertaining. No matter what you decide, please give this series a try. If you’re not hooked after just one episode, then I’ll admit openly that I don’t have a clue about what is good and what is shite! The first episode might remind you a bit of “Blade Runner”, but the story is totally original.
I hope you enjoy this series,
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Star Trek could use a little RMB “tough love”
What I posted on the TrekCulture youtube site. I just thought I should send it to you, just in case you wanted me to retract what I said.
________ I said ________
I realize you’re not the showrunners or producers of the current Trek. But the ships in the new Star Trek series (no matter which one you watch) are quite possibly the ugliest ones ever created. They look like the designers went to a Quaker toy show in upper Pennsylvania and started playing with a set of wooden shapes intended for preschool children and were fascinated by them. And thought that’s what the Federation Star Ships need – sharp lines and boxy shapes smashed into the previously beautiful flowing design lines of the original ship designs (and even the early movie ship designs). Yuck!!! It doesn’t even look like Star Trek. It looks like a cheap knock-off, done by early animation students. It makes me shake my head.
The writing doesn’t even sound like Trek either. How and why was the Federation of Planets, turned into a group of power-hungry, warmongering apes? I thought Star Trek was meant to inspire people to be better than we currently are? What in the hell happened?
Have you ever thought of talking to a guy named Robert Meyer Burnett about how these ships should look? That guy loves Trek! He is one of the people I know of, that really knows what Star Trek is meant to be like. He understands what the ships and space stations should look like. He also has access to a fantastic designer and animator. And together, what they were coming up with shows that they really understand the esthetics of the Star Trek universe. The Axinar project that they were working on, really looked and felt like Star Trek! (Go check out the Burnettwork here on YouTube.)
And while you’re at it, maybe you should also ask him how to write a Star Trek story that “sounds” like Star Trek?! The man is a fountain of knowledge! And the Star Trek community as a whole really should be listening to him.
Just my thoughts though. I guess some people love this stuff. I personally think it’s not worthy of using the Star Trek name.
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