The Silent Sea, Boba Fett, and other TV notes

The season finale for The Wheel of Time was last week. As I’ve mentioned before, I read two or three of the early books decades ago, but remember very little: Rand, Moraine, portals to alternate realms, and a few other things. So the show mostly feels like fresh material. In the early episodes, it was hard to get a sense of scale, although the later episodes made up for it. I know a lot of the book fans were upset by the finale, but I enjoyed it, particularly the reveal in the prologue and the anticipation set by the epilogue.

Blade Runner: Black Lotus is still running on Adult Swim, now eight episodes in. I’m continuing to enjoy it. The animation and music are top notch. One complaint is that the characters could be more developed. The villains in particular seem one dimensional. They’re all sadistic, arrogant, and nasty. It’s clear the show doesn’t want us to have the least degree of sympathy for them, a bit unusual for anime. My other complaint is that the latest episode is a recap, something that might have made sense in the age of broadcast TV, but a bit unusual in the streaming age, and with only ten episodes overall, annoying. Still, Elle’s story remains compelling and I’m interested to see where it goes.

I’ve always been puzzled by the fascination Star Wars fans have for Boba Fett. I remember when he was introduced in promotional material, and his first appearance in the cartoon segment of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. The sense was that he was going to be a major new villain for the movie series, but his part in the movies ended up being pretty limited. When The Mandalorian was first announced, I actually thought it was going to be about him. He does eventually appear, but as a supporting character. It was the first time I started to find him interesting.

It turns out that his limited role in the movies, even though they do give us a sketch of his origin as Jango Fett’s clone, leaves him a mostly blank slate. The new show, The Book of Boba Fett, simultaneously starts off immediately after his takeover of Jabba’s old crime syndicate as shown at the end of season two of The Mandalorian, and through flashbacks, his life starting from the point of being trapped inside the Sarlacc from Return of the Jedi.

The Fett of these shows is a more nuanced character than the movie version. The Mandalorian leaves open the possibility this could have been post-movie character growth. But in the first episode of The Book, the Fett immediately after Return of the Jedi is altruistically willing to help a fellow prisoner escape, implying he always had some sense of honor, even if just the type of honor among thieves.

But like The Mandalorian, this series is continuing to show us that some of the antagonists in the Star Wars movies have their own point of view, one developed through their own culture and life circumstances. That, plus the fact that these shows lean into the space western aspect of the franchise, makes them pretty cool. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.

The Silent Sea is a Korean series on Netflix. The premise is a future where water has become scarce. It is in fact disappearing and the human race is in serious trouble. The exact reasons for this are never explained (or if it was, I missed it), but it forms the background of most of the character motivations. For example, most of the members of the mission participate because they need the promised higher water rations for their families.

The Koreans had a base on the moon that, due to a mysterious radiation accident, had to be abandoned. However, the base contains samples that need to be retrieved. The government won’t reveal to the retrieval crew members exactly what these samples are or why they’re needed, only that their mission is vital. The two team leaders, Doctor Song and Captain Han, are the chief protagonists and often end up clashing with each other. Each is on the team for their own reasons.

Trouble starts when the ship crashes on the moon and the team is forced to hike across the moon surface to the base. The base itself appears functional, although filled with dead bodies. Mysteriously, the bodies appear to show death from drowning rather than any kind of radiation sickness. And it soon becomes apparent that the team is not alone in the base.

I was a little worried this one might turn out to be horror of a Resident Evil sort. But while it’s definitely a thriller, one with its share of gore and scary moments, not to mention a pretty dark and disturbing story, it never crosses into horror. I enjoyed it, but found it a bit slow in the beginning. And much of the science doesn’t bear close scrutiny. But the production values are excellent and the show is well done visually. Worth checking out if you can take its dark grim mood.

Finally, there’s the Doctor Who New Year’s Day special: Eve of the Daleks. After the incoherent mess of the main season, I was prepared for the worst. But I actually found myself enjoying this one. Chris Chibnall, the showrunner, seems able to tell an engaging story when he doesn’t make the stakes ridiculous or throw too many balls in the air. We’ve only got a couple of specials left in his and Jodie Whittaker’s tenure, which ends after 2022. Hopefully they’ll be more like this and less like the Flux mess.

Have you seen any of these? If so, what did you think?

28 thoughts on “The Silent Sea, Boba Fett, and other TV notes

  1. Haven’t seen any of them. I’ll get to the Doctor Who special, and The Silent Sea sounds like a maybe (although I have a pretty long to-watch list already). The Star Wars stuff has never interested me. I haven’t decided about The Wheel of Time yet. I also barely remember those books (I got a lot farther than you did), so it would be a fresh series for me, too. But I’d almost rather watch something that takes place in space. 😀

    BTW, 2/3 done with Revelation Space and really enjoying it. I plan to finish today and move on to the next books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everything’s better in space (even if it’s just pigs). I agree if The Wheel of Time took place in space, with god-like AIs and advanced technology instead of god-like villains and magic, it would be better. But I’m still enjoying the pseudo-medieval version.

      You’re really tearing through RS. It’s a good book. I remember the second book in the Inhibitor sequence: Redemption Ark, being my favorite, so something to look forward to.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Finished, really enjoyed it, and it looks like I was right about who the Mademoiselle is (no proof, yet, but Ilia and Ana believe it to be true). I’ve requested Redemption Ark, but the library has only one copy, I’m second in line, so it could be as much as four weeks (it estimates) before I get my turn. 😦

            My wait for Leviathan Falls is also down to four weeks. And I just noticed on the Wiki page for The Expanse (novels) that there’s apparently a 10th book, Memory’s Legion, scheduled for 2022.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Hope you get the books soon.

            Memory’s Legion is actually going to be a rollup of the novellas they’ve done for the series, with one new story added, which will take place after the ninth book. Having already bought a number of their novellas ala carte, I’m annoyed they’re requiring us to buy the entire anthology just to get that last story. But it’ll probably work on me.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. Oh, thanks for the head up on that. I haven’t touched any of the novellas, so it makes a good excuse for me to check them out (once the library has the book).

            The library Holds queue is capricious. I’ve seen the time estimate increase sometimes, but I’ve also see it make big decreases (sometimes they add a copy, for instance). 🤞

            Liked by 2 people

          4. Well, there ya go, a nice New Year’s present, we both win. You get the single, and I get the collection.

            In other news, waiting for Redemption Ark (still four week wait), I saw that House of Suns was available, so I’m almost halfway through and enjoying that one now. Reynolds reminds me vaguely of very updated E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen series. Far, far future; awesome tech; roaming the galaxy; kind of a wild west feel to interactions; and so forth.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. Certainly enjoying it so far. (Cracked me up that there’s kind of a C3PO character.) The general idea of the scatterlings is pretty cool, and I have a major soft spot for Einsteinian universes.

            Doing my annual WP stats thing (and I have more snow to shovel), so may not get back to it today. My respect for WP coding has gone down even more. It appears they can’t even produce a proper CSV file. This:

            “””To His Coy Mistress””,67

            Is not a legal CSV row! 🤬🤯

            Like

          6. And I have a whole separate issue with the “helpful” way they corrupt quotes in text. Those should just be regular double-quotes, but it’s impossible to get WP to not corrupt them into fancy quotes.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a shame the Star Wars universe has to give the villain their own TV show (whereupon they become the hero) so we can see their complexity. The villains in The Silent Sea are complex without that benefit. (The villain in the DW special are Daleks, so nothing more complex there than “Exterminate!”)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed the Silent Sea but the creators kept insisting on building in plot weakness. The reason for the water shortage on Earth, the “magically” self replicating water (impossible, so some explanation needed), and the final scene in which Luna goes walking around on the Moon’s surface, exposed to both a vacuum and blazing hot and cold surface temperatures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, doesn’t hold up to scrutiny at all. The water multiplying from nothing was obviously so they could have shots of people vomiting large quantities of it. But that final shot really added nothing but silliness.

      Like

  3. I started watching Wheel of Time, about 1 episode. And I’m wondering – does this show have any depth? Anything beyond an excuse for trolls and mages (etc.) to slaughter each other? I haven’t read the books.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ll be signing up for Disney Plus soon and binge watching all the Star Wars stuff. I’m very much looking forward to the Book of Boba Fett. He was one of my favorite characters growing up. The books did a lot to flesh out his character, and from what I remember he was always an honorable man. He sort of moved through the “scum and villainy” part of the Star Wars galaxy without truly being part of it, if that makes sense.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. It does. I never got into the Expanded Universe, except for the initial Thrawn trilogy, so I missed out on whatever fleshing out the character might have had in those books. I guess we could think of him as similar to Han Solo before Solo met Luke and Leia, the type of guy who has no compunction against shooting Greedo first because it’s what he needs to do to survive.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’d have to re-read stuff to remember the details, but that’s probably a good analogy. I vaguely remember a scene in Jabba’s palace where he basically tells Princess Leia: don’t take it personally, I was just doing my job.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. We have seen the ‘Wheel of Time” episodes. I found it very watchable without too many gripes.

    Boba Fett is on my list of things to do. I thought “The Mandalorian” was pretty good, so it seems like a natural progression.

    I will look for some of these others you have mentioned.

    I’ll add one, “The Expanse” May not be everyones cup of tea, but I like it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Definitely agreed on The Expanse. I’ve been watching it. I haven’t posted about the sixth season in particular yet since I mentioned it when discussing Leviathan Falls, the final book in The Expanse book series. I hope they get a chance to adapt the last three books in one form or another.

      Liked by 1 person

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