Tag Archives: tv

Altered Carbon

images.jpegI first read Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon not long after it was published. I’ve read a few of his other books, too, and I really like his style. For reasons of “I have too many other books on my pile”, I haven’t got around to reading the rest in the series… although having been reminded of the book by the Netflix series, I’m going to remedy that this year. I’ve just re-read Altered Carbon itself.

Because my memory was fuzzy, I went into the show with only a vague memory of characters and plot. Which was good, actually, because it meant that I got to be surprised by plot twists and be immersed in the world-building.

I loved both the book and the show. This post contains spoilers for both, because I want to compare them.

I had heard some people complaining that the tv show was more simplistic than the books – which didn’t surprise me, although I couldn’t recall if I agreed. Having now re-read the book (and watched the show, um, twice), I disagree. Yes, the show has reduced some of the complexities, but in other ways it introduces more, and different, complexity. The two are actually quite different. It made me think of a film or tv show and its reboot: there are characters in common, and similar or identical plot beats, but with definite differences – perhaps to account for when it’s made, or directors’ stylistic differences, or whatever.

So the show is, I think, more racially diverse. (See this article for some good points on that topic and also some good points about the violence against women, which would be a whole other post for me and is covered here pretty well. DON’T READ THE COMMENTS.) It changes Kristin Ortega to be of Mexican(ish?) descent – in the book she’s described as having cheekbones courtesy of a Native American ancestor, which is weird and maybe racist? I’m Australian, I’m not sure of the nuance there – but otherwise doesn’t mention her appearance. (More on Ortega later.) The show makes Elliot and his family black – which is interesting but also changes the plot somewhat, since the whole point of why Bancroft wanted to have sex with Elizabeth Elliot is a physical similarity to his wife (who is white and blonde in both). Quellcrist’s physical appearance isn’t mentioned in the book, as far as I noticed, nor the race of other Envoys, so having at least some of them be not-white was positive.

What I think is the most stark difference between the two is the emphasis on family. In the book, we learn that Takashi had a difficult home life, but very little detail. We see that Laurens and Miriam Bancroft have a fairly distant relationship, and that Elliot loves his family, but they get little interaction on the page. In the show, though – what a difference. I adore the fact that Ortega’s family gets so much time (although I am a bit cranky about her being made so much shorter than Riker/ Tak, since in the book they’re almost of a height; I did enjoy the actor in the role, though). The familial argument about whether it’s a good idea to re-sleeve Grandma for a family celebration puts the whole issue of Catholics’ opposition to stacks etc into great relief. I also just love how MUCH Ortega we get in the show, even though she is clearly obsessed with getting her boyfriend back and clearing his name (which I do understand). In the book, she really is just there as suspicious support for Tak. Even her mum gets a bit of character development! That’s so cool!

Tak’s family also gets a great deal more depth – and maybe that’s coming from the other books, I’ll find out soon. But seeing his relationship with his sister, and then making Reileen be that sister grown up, is deeply intriguing. I wasn’t entirely convinced by her motivations in the show, although towards the end it started making a bit more sense… but it’s still a really interesting difference. It’s not like the Reileen in the book has much more character depth, so it’s a change not a loss.

The Elliots are far more present in the show than in the book – Vernon Elliot has zero to do with Tak and his mission in the book, unlike the show where he becomes an unwilling and not very helpful assistant. And we never meet Lizzie in the book; she’s just mentioned as waiting to be re-sleeved. So I love that she gets to have a hand in her own vengeance (much as I disapprove of violent vengeance in the real world…). The book has Ava Elliot be re-sleeved in a white body, but still female, while in the show she’s given a white man’s body. Part of the point of Tak’s training is that re-sleeving happens so often it’s meant to be straightforward, but that’s not the case for most humans – especially when they haven’t chosen it. What I was impressed by in the show is that although Vernon Elliot is initially bewildered and maybe horrified by the body his wife has been shoved into, he does come to grips with it and they do share intimate moments. And to my eyes, it’s not shown to be homophobia or transphobia, but more about that very specific experience of an unexpected body for his wife. (Trans folk etc should feel free to point out where I’ve missed stereotypes and so on, because I wouldn’t be surprised if I have.)

Even the Bancrofts, dirty Meths that they are, get more family exploration in the show. We don’t ever meet a Bancroft child in the novel, but two of them feature in the show and the son is a significant bit-part.

Perhaps the most intriguing change with Tak is his relationship with Quellcrist Falconer – and again, maybe this is coming from the later books, but it’s definitely not in this first one. It humanises him in a way that I think is really fascinating, since he commits such dreadfully violent acts and is himself subjected to terrible violence. Visually, to have a contrast with his time with Quell I found quite affecting. I think I have more sympathy for TV-Tak than I do with book-Tak, because there’s more emotional depth to hook into.

A curious change that I’m still trying to think through is the change from having the hotel be the Hendrix to one themed around Edgar Allan Poe. The Hedrix’s avatar is rarely a Jimi Hendrix lookalike (not until near the end, in fact), so I don’t think this is a case of erasing a black character. Perhaps the creators of the show thought that the AI of a Poe-hotel would be more likely to get into the spirit of an investigation? I have no idea. Also, the show creates the AI poker scenes and arguments from whole cloth, which I think is deeply interesting… and perhaps fits into the notion of family being a connecting theme across the episodes…

Finally, the book doesn’t have the Hello Unicorn! backpack, which is clearly a problem. (I found this article while looking for a picture.)In-The-Time-of-Battle-Unicorn-Backpack-Is-There-v3.png

Movies and TV of 2017

Movies (new)

The Sum of All Fears *  Sherlock Holmes (movie)* Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows *  Like Water for Chocolate * Logan * Iris * Robin Hood (2010) * Hidden Figures * Last Cab to Darwin * Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise * Moana * Doctor Strange * For the Love of Spock * Wonder Woman * The Mummy (2017) * The Fate of the Furious * The Zookeeper’s Wife * Kong: Skull Island * Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them * Searching for Sugarman * The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies * Thor: Ragnarok * The Last Jedi *

Movies (rewatch)

The Italian Job (2003) * Arrival * The Expendables 2 * Gone in Sixty Seconds * Master and Commander * Gladiator * Spy Game *  The Abyss *  The Martian * Under Siege * Escape Plan * Arrival (yes, again) * Rogue One * Mad Max: Fury Road * Ghostbusters (2016) * Sahara * The Mummy * Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation * Rogue One (yes, again) * Wonder Woman *  Ocean’s Eleven * Iron Man * Iron Man 2 * Iron Man 3 * Grease 2 * The Poseidon Adventure * The Towering Inferno * Thor * Thor: The Dark World * Men in Black * Men in Black II * Men in Black III * Jurassic Park * Charlie’s Angels  * The Dark Knight Rises * Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle * Ocean’s 11 * Ocean’s 12  * Ocean’s 13 * Star Wars: A New Hope * The Empire Strikes Back * Attack of the Clones * Revenge of the Sith * The Force Awakens * Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban * Interstellar

TV (new)

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (Netflix 2016) * Ascension *  A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix) * Arq * Person of Interest (season 2) * Person of Interest (season 3) * Person of Interest (season 4) * Chef’s Table (season 1) * Person of Interest (season 5) *  The Blacklist (season 1) * The Blacklist (season 2) * Agents of SHIELD (season whatever we’re up to) * The Blacklist (season 3) * Orphan Black (season 5) * The Good Place (season 1) * The Blacklist (season 4) * Wynonna Earp (season 1) * The Expanse (season 2) * Glitch (season 2) * Doctor Who (season what, ten?) * Cake Master *

TV (rewatch)

Some Doctor Who bits and pieces.

Galactic Suburbia 159

 

class-cast

Alex and Tansy pull apart the recent school-set Doctor Who spin off TV show Class, with its YA tropes, teen diversity, squicky alien creatures and fascinating parent-kid dynamics. But mostly we rave about the awesomeness of Quill. Because she is the best.

You can get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Movies and TV of 2016

New TV:
Molly * Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo * X-Files (reboot) * Sonic Highways * Once Upon A Time (season 1) * The Night Manager * Carmilla (season 2) * The Expanse (season 1) * Agents of SHIELD (season 3) * Orphan Black (season 4) * Trepalium * Revolution School * Games of Thrones (season 4) * Game of Thrones (season 5) * Games of Thrones (season 6) * The Americans (season 1) * The Americans (season 2) * The Americans (season 3) * The Durrells * Once Upon A Time (season 2) * Once Upon a Time (season 3) * Person of Interest (season 1) * Carmilla (season 3) *

TV, rewatched:
Fringe (season 2) * Fringe (season 3) * Fringe (season 4) * Pride and Prejudice (BBC) * Jericho (season 1 and 2)

New movies:
Dallas Buyers Club * San Andreas * State of Affairs * Captain America: Civil War * Deadpool * The Hollow Crown (Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 and 2, Henry V) * Ghostbusters 2016 * Frozen (um, without most of the singing) * Batman v Superman * Sherpa * Pride and Prejudice and Zombies * The Art of Flight * X-Men: Apocalypse * John Carter * The Huntsman: Winter’s War * Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children * The Congress * Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy * Only Lovers Left Alive * Lover Come Back * Underworld: Awakening * Jason Bourne * Suicide Squad * Star Trek Beyond * Independence Day: Resurgence * Rogue One *

Movies, rewatched:
Mad Max: Fury Road * Sahara * Aliens * Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade * Chronicles of Riddick * The Fifth Element * The Avengers * Ghostbusters (original) * The Edge of Tomorrow * Thor: The Dark World * Captain America: The Winter Soldier * Independence Day * Alien * Top Gun * Beverley Hills Cop * Beverley Hills Cop II * It Might Get Loud * Bridge of Spies * Crimson Tide * Stargate (the movie) * The Edge of Tomorrow * Underworld * Underworld Evolution * Blade Runner * Mr and Mrs Smith * Enemy of the State * Pacific Rim * RED

FarScape rewatch: s1e16

Farscape rewatch

Each week on a Sunday afternoon, join Alex (of Randomly Yours, Alex) and Katharine (of the unpronounceable Ventureadlaxre), as they re-watch the Australian-American sci-fi show Farscape, notable for the Jim Henson animatronic puppets, the excellent mish-mash of accents, and the best OTP ship of all time.

Season One, Episode Sixteen: A Human Reaction

A: Aw, John is still talking to his dad… and then Pilot sees a wormhole! With Earth at the end!!

K: I wonder if I’d be like that. I get along great with my mum, but… I don’t think I’m hopeful enough to think there’d be any point? He’s quite a good age to only be starting to get grey hairs, isn’t he? I do like how dismissive they all are about us though – no red moons indeed.

A: I like my grey hair.

Oh Aeryn. She’s clearly so torn about not going with John… and possibly about John leaving…

K: Go on, Aeryn! An adventure is an adventure, right?

Continue reading →

FarScape rewatch: s1, e15

Farscape rewatch

Each week on a Sunday afternoon, join Alex (of Randomly Yours, Alex) and Katharine (of the unpronounceable Ventureadlaxre), as they re-watch the Australian-American sci-fi show Farscape, notable for the Jim Henson animatronic puppets, the excellent mish-mash of accents, and the best OTP ship of all time.

Season One, Episode Fifteen: Durka Returns

Rygel’s past comes back to haunt him one more time, as the rest of the crew try to deal with both this as well as Moya’s continuing pregnancy.

K: As we join our brave heroes, Moya is still suffering through her pregnancy. Pilot is getting snippy on Moya’s behalf as their crew complain a little.

A: Turbulence, starburst, and a ship…

K: They starburst, and crash into an unsuspecting ship which Pilot brings on board, as the crash disabled them. And Lucius Malfoy arrives. And with him is an old friend of Rygel…

A: I like that Pilot is completely doing his own thing – bringing the other ship on board – without checking with anyone.

Another Rygel-heavy ep? Aw man.

K: Even Aeryn is a little shaken by the events.

A: AHAHA it’s Dennis Denuto from The Castle as Salis! Continue reading →

FarScape rewatch: s1, e14

Farscape rewatch

Each week on a Sunday afternoon, join Alex (of Randomly Yours, Alex) and Katharine (of the unpronounceable Ventureadlaxre), as they re-watch the Australian-American sci-fi show Farscape, notable for the Jim Henson animatronic puppets, the excellent mish-mash of accents, and the best OTP ship of all time.

Season One, Episode Fourteen: Jeremiah Crichton

Crichton accidentally gets abandoned and Rygel features a bit too much.

K: Once again, John is being snappy and inconsiderate of others.

A: It can’t be easy losing some of his connection to Earth – no more fuel. Nonetheless, being mean to Zhaan is inexcusable.

K: Must be pretty cool to be able to fly out into space instead of just going for a walk around the block, though. Continue reading →

FarScape: s1, e13

Farscape rewatch

Each week on a Sunday afternoon, join Alex (of Randomly Yours, Alex) and Katharine (of the unpronounceable Ventureadlaxre), as they re-watch the Australian-American sci-fi show Farscape, notable for the Jim Henson animatronic puppets, the excellent mish-mash of accents, and the best OTP ship of all time.

Season One, Episode Thirteen: The Flax

As always, when things go wrong they go wrong in multiple areas all at once. A simple flying lesson turns much more deadly when Aeryn and Crichton get stuck in The Flax, and all they have to rely on to help them in a ‘garbage connoisseur’.

K: Aeryn is trying to teach Crichton how to pilot one of the shuttles, to half-baked results, however he is happy enough – she reckons she’ll kill him if he pilots so poorly again.

A: this is hilarious and of course it’s basically a driving lesson, which is always dangerous.

K: Everyone’s getting a bit tetchy due to Moya’s pregnancy somehow. I’m not entirely sure what’s so bad – if they’ve managed to find an empty bit of space surely life ain’t so bad.

A: Or they’re just wandering along and happened across it?

K: Aeryn says that someday Crichton may be vaguely useful, which is almost a compliment, and then everything goes to shit. Probably literally.

A: An invisible THING pulling them in?? Oh no!

And the credits tell me RHYS MULDOON is going to be in this episode!!  (HAWT) Continue reading →

FarScape: s1, e12

Farscape rewatch

Each week on a Sunday afternoon, join Alex (of Randomly Yours, Alex) and Katharine (of the unpronounceable Ventureadlaxre), as they re-watch the Australian-American sci-fi show Farscape, notable for the Jim Henson animatronic puppets, the excellent mish-mash of accents, and the best OTP ship of all time.

Season One, Episode Twelve: Rhapsody in Blue

Moya responds to a distress call that turns out to be from a colony of Delvians. Zhaan goes to assist her people, to slightly dire results.

K: Weird opening. John in bed with some blonde just about to propose and it becomes clear it’s something from his past – for a second I thought it was some weird crack-side episode where he’s flung into some awful space-soap opera.

A: NAWWWWW sad John. Meanwhile, do men really buy rings before they’ve proposed in real life? THat seems ridiculous to me. Also did he really get up and get champagne without her noticing and then came back to bed?

“Hail Prince of the Obvious” might be my favourite new term.

Continue reading →

FarScape s1, e11

Farscape rewatch

Season One, Episode Eleven: Til the Blood Runs Clear

John and Aeryn go for a little haunt ‘round the block to collect data towards getting John home. Things go far better than expected, which goes to show how rude John can be, and brings the science back to this show for an episode.

A: Just the title of this episode bodes poorly for D’Argo. I love Aeryn’s snarkiness in this opening; she’s so funny.

K: I didn’t even realise that. Ah well, maybe it’ll give him a chance to redeem himself for past episodes.

A: aaaand Zhaan is having A Moment in the sunlight, which is quite spoiled when Pilot points out the radiation could harm the baby. Guess that’s going to be a thing for the rest of the show. Continue reading →