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What I’m Watching: The Fall of the House of Usher

A fairly nice homage to Poe’s work, 8 episodes which for once seems somewhat justified. None of the episodes are strongly based on a specific story or poem, but they do work most of them in. Occasionally people burst out in poetry like Cop Rock.

Carla Gugino is great as “Verna” the psychopomp, Raven, spectre of death that hangs over the doomed Usher family. The rest of the cast are fine, some of the older/younger alternate actors are better (Bruce Greenwood/Zach Gilford as older/younger Roderick Usher) than others (Mary McDonnell/Willa Fitzgerald incoherently playing older/younger Madeline Usher). Mark Hamill plays Arthur Gordon Pym (of Nantucket!), hero of a round-the-world exploration (I bet!), now lawyer/assassin for the Ushers; I love that Luke Skywalker just grew up to be the best villains.

We know from the start that the pharmaceuticals business empire Roderick Usher has built has a body count, and then all his six children (by a variety of mothers) start dying in thematically appropriate ways. Roderick recounts this to Auguste Dupin, here an insurance investigator/prosecutor, in a decaying ruin of a house. I tended to get bored by the exposition in the house, the set doesn’t feel like a terrible storm is raging until it’s needed for plot. But the vignettes of each episode are better.

The Masque of the Red Death is just dumb scene kids, but builds to a good level of horror, and a doom for one that should be avoidable… Murder in the Rue Morgue is an ambitious surgeon, some angry chimps, a trick and speech by Verna.

The Black Cat takes an idiot stoner vtuber and some guilt, but I don’t think built up his crime enough, I mostly laughed at his suffering all ep. The Tell-Tale Heart gives us the unintended murder and the guilt that was deserved in the last ep. Goldbug is the weak point, mostly exposition and an idiot getting themself killed. The Pit and the Pendulum finally delivers punishment to the most insipid bastard of the Usher kids, the one nobody will ever miss; as Verna says, she doesn’t usually intervene, but he’s a special case.

The Raven finally wraps it up, the Ushers’ exact deal with Verna revealed. I somewhat resent the misuse of Lenore here, she should be a tragic romance following the poem, but instead is just a sacrifice, very weak writing choice. Roderick’s scene changes in the end of this don’t make a lot of sense. Animal House-ish “where are they now” bit of exposition. Fin.

The music occasionally is heavy-handed and ’80s, and I love that. “We Built This City” is being used, I think to troll the Kids Today™, but I love the song and Jefferson/Starship/Airplane, it was the first or second concert I ever went to, so that makes The Black Cat even funnier. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” during an operatic-level screaming argument, just like the vampire opera it’s from.

They only rarely got any kind of moody, gothic feeling, even when shooting in dark places, they don’t understand building up someone’s crimes and then hurting them for it, the series is more shoving it in your face. But reading poetry at all is nice. If you’re a big fan of little Edgar Allan Poe, if you find thatsbelievable funny, you ought to watch this.

★★★★☆

ZX Spectrum Next

Backed this in Sep 2020. After 3.5 years of of antici…




… pation, I finally have my SpecNext release 2!

I don’t have it set up in its final location in the living room yet, so it’s replaced my side terminal on my desk. Ideally I’d like to have a classic computer hutch desk, medium LCD instead of CRT, and a slightly janky ’80s-style plush office chair to recreate the 1984 experience.

The box has a universal power brick with 4 national connectors that lock in, very nice. It doesn’t have an HDMI cable, and I had some shenanigans with a bad cable in the wrong storage, but finally found a good one.

Played some baSnake and tried the demos, then down to some BASIC, starting with 10 Print Had to find the charset in the manual, and I always forget ZX BASIC doesn’t really need args or parens.

10 PRINT CHR$ (134+INT(RND+0.5)*3);
20 GO TO 10

Playing more stuff from the browser, IT RUNS Z5 FILES NATIVELY!!! Just shove your Infocoms etc. in there and hit Enter. I got a new standard text adventure player!

The keyboard’s fine for me, but some people will immediately hook up a PS2 keyboard. The key travel’s short but very crisp. The layout’s mostly OK, nice big spacebar, but it really should’ve moved the ;",. keys over to the right, so you have something besides ENTER under your pinky on home keys. I’m perpetually typing off by one column because of this.

In BASIC, there’s no shortcut commands like ? or P. for PRINT, which means I’m very very tired of typing PRINT … PRINT … PRINT. But at least it’s not like the classic ZX81 keyboard, with keywords on every key. My left pinky is getting a bit worn out from symbol-B for *, symbol-L for =, etc.

Videogame controls are weird:

  • Consoles: normal Joystick/D-Pad/Analog sticks, ^ O X [] buttons.
  • Most 8-bit computers: normal Arrows or HJKL, sometimes IJKL
  • All recent computers: normal WASD
  • Spectrum: unusable QA or 2W up/down, OP or 90 left/right, M to fire. Needless to say, I did NOT beat NextIPEDE with this control scheme.

So I got a knockoff Genesis (“MegaDrive” to some) controller, which has worked perfectly. See Joystick FAQ

Looking into NextBASIC, the manual is fantastic. 318 pages, spacey cover art, super technical. Hundreds of pages on graphics, sound, using the ZXOS. There’s a section on IN/OUT ports, registers, a hardware diagram if you want to replace the RasPi module or something. I still need to read more Z80 ASM from another book, but everything short of that is in here.

I’ve got the real-time clock and wifi working (note: only AP names without spaces!), but haven’t figured out how to uplaod/download from it yet. Uh, that’s important. I can pop the SD card and get files when I back up, but I’d like to use the wifi.

I have from a couple years ago, quite a bit of a text dungeon game developed on emulator, but I’ll rewrite some of the code now with new features (optional LET command! Better loops, locals, and “static”/private vars!), and the graphics now to use tiles at least, or first-person if I’m feeling ambitious.

Haven’t even looked at the CP/M core, which I think will be very exciting, having a good CP/M machine in the modern age. I see Gary Kildall on Computer Chronicles every so often and I miss what could’ve been.

I’m calling it now: Best computer of 2024 is a 28MHz Z80 with 2MiB RAM.

Indecent Proposal: Linux

Craig suggested a snarky Modest Proposal, start targeting Linux instead of Mac, if you recoil at Apple taking 30%.

It’s really 15% for most people in Small Business Program. In the Olden Times Before Ye Appe Store, distributors only would take 50% or more cut, publishers would take 70-90% cut; the App Store was a ridiculously good deal when it came out. Assholes like Tim Sweeney at “Epic Games” are of course appalled at paying out a dime, and so after an epic court battle where they lost 9/10 claims, have now reduced it to 27%, and owe Apple $73M for legal fees.

But let’s think about switching. I’ve been spending a few days arguing with Linux zealots on fediverse, and have come to some conclusions, aside from the obvious that Linux people are crazy.

THE GOALS

  1. Write software in tools and languages I don’t hate.
  2. Keep the kind of software quality, taste, accessibility, etc. that I like.
  3. Ship it and GET PAID.

Not Goals

  1. End-user use. I don’t have to inflict this on myself, just see what the dev environment’s like.
  2. Server software, I have FreeBSD for that.
  3. Joining a cult and singing the Free Software Song – do not click, it’s Stallman singing.

GUI APIs

This is the most visible, but shallowest problem. Craig suggests Gtk+ or QT.

  • Gtk:
    • Pro: It is easy to code against in C, and from there you can use anything you like with FFI; I could ship my Scheme programs with Gtk.
    • Con: Looks like ass everywhere, native to nothing.
    • Every version is incompatible and utterly different from the last.
    • Theming makes UI design very hard, or impossible.
  • QT:
    • Pro: Actually not terrible looking, sometimes almost passes for native.
    • Con: Have to work in C++, which is a HARD NO from me.
  • Gnome: Mostly this is just Gtk.
    • Con: Do everything in their awful IDE.
    • Sort of has design guidelines, but the child-like or Windows Vista-like icons, bubble aesthetic, is not appealing.
    • Requires Flatpak, which I’ll get to in a minute.
  • KDE: Mostly this is just QT.
    • Pro: Can be worked in from Kate, which is an OK editor. Here’s Mark, saying something almost positive about a Linux program! Kate is OK. It’s no Vim, though.
    • Human Interface Guidelines are pretty consistent, professional-looking.
    • Con: Can also be worked in from KDevelop, which makes Eclipse look fun (Eclipse is not fun).
    • UI is mostly written in QML, which is YAML like Microsoft’s XML layout stuff. Just horrible.
    • Mostly the loser in the Linux User Interface Wars.
    • Again, C++, no.
  • Android:
    • Pro: Is a platform with some aesthetics & user experience; not great, but it exists.
    • Has a paid store.
    • Con: Languages are Java or Kotlin, which are very silly.
    • IDEs for it are really spectacularly awful, either Eclipse or a bag-on-the-side mode of IntelliJ.
    • Security is F-tier, I don’t like contributing to a platform that’s all scams, piracy, and botnets.

I hate basically everything here, and more besides. Gtk has a bare winning edge that it’s easier to use from a language I like.

System APIs

The deeper problem of Linux is everything in between 1970s terminal programs and trivial GUI programs that don’t interact with anything. There’s no real system integrations.

If you want to use the user’s calendar, you have to research several calendaring systems, some of which may have an API and some don’t. Again when you want to do messaging, oh, wait, that doesn’t even exist on every system. Again when you want to do something with curated photo albums, not just shoving a png in some random directory.

Or dig deeper, and audio is the same fiasco that chased me off Linux desktop 20 years ago; you simply can’t get multiple audio streams to sync & play, and the latency is often in the seconds for audio processing, I can get far under 10ms on Mac. Video is nonexistent other than calling out to VLC or mplayer; you don’t want to try.

What you can get done on Linux is maybe a database and low-level networking. If that’s not enough, you’re in for a rough ride.

Taste

So I use this word a lot. “The only problem with Microsoft is, they just have no taste.” —Steve Jobs – watch that whole clip from Triumph of the Nerds.

Taste is about picking one aesthetic, one set of user experiences, and saying no to all the others. You have to choose. And most people can’t choose, or they just end up dumpster-diving a bunch of junk that doesn’t go together, and can’t understand why they’re unhappy (or maybe they’re Grouches who like garbage).

If the platform creator has an aesthetic, it has behavior guidelines, you follow it, so users will feel comfortable, they won’t feel surprised: Law of Least Astonishment.

This is impossible on Linux. Gnome users hate KDE, KDE users hate Gnome. Some of them like Electron shit, others think it’s as bad as Flash (it’s actually worse). Until one of them becomes a One True Catholic Linux and puts the rest to conversion or death at swordpoint, there won’t be any unified UI.

So now you have to do QA testing on design as well as functionality on multiple distros, many different configurations, and you’ll probably need testers familiar with those setups. It’s an impossible QA task.

Suppose I want a file open box with custom file previews. On Mac OS X, I can use NSOpenPanel, customize the accessory view, watch notifications and update the preview. Gnome & KDE will deal with even having icons differently, and you can’t override anything without bringing in their code and hacking on it.

Ship It

You have several choices here.

Gnome people say Flatpak, which bundles all the libraries and support for a program into a bundle, explicitly copied from NeXTstep/Mac OS X/iOS .app bundles (the word “app” is only valid for these platforms! This is where it comes from!)

Which is theoretically fine, but runs into the problem that Linux doesn’t have a consistent OS base, so Flatpaks are a LOT bigger than Mac app bundles. They run “cross-distro” by some kind of linking hackery and translation layers, so your Gnome program includes all of Gnome, and looks like ass on KDE, but runs. As noted under Taste, that’s not an acceptable way to ship, you’d have to test on everything.

npm, deb, & nix are distro-specific bundles, but at least they can check dependencies and install only what’s needed. They don’t help you at all with translation layers. While there’s a UI for these, you really only do them from command line.

“Free Software” is an incredible pain in the ass here, you have to carefully check what libraries you use, and if they’re LGPL or BSD/MIT, so you can use them with some qualifications, or GPL or AGPL, in which case you can’t (unless you like shipping all your source and having 100% piracy).

Get Paid

Releasing free software is useless. As Harlan Ellison said, cross my palm with silver.

Universally, every Linux I’ve spoken to hates paying for software, they would never do it, think I’m an immoral monster for suggesting it, I should be happy someone might put a penny in a tip jar.

This is a backwards, shit-covered, medieval religious dogma. It’s appalling in the 21st Century that Rape Apologist Richard Stallman is still Pope of the FSF, eater of toejam, owner of abortion jokes in fortune. And his devotees are carrying out The Faith, regardless of the sins of their leader.

There’s no good software stores. Elementary has one, which is defunct or close to it, from what I can tell. Ubuntu shut theirs down years ago.

Google Play for Android isn’t on every device, and it’s widely pirated. I also morally object to letting Google have money, but any port in a storm if it wasn’t for that?

itch.io works fine for games. I suspect the Linux paid users are the tiniest most shrivelled-up sliver of the demographics. 20-30 years ago, I actually had minor success with shareware on Linux, but that dropped off and never recovered.

Otherwise, I dunno, try to run my own e-commerce site and sell binaries which will instantly get pirated because nobody on Linux has any money?

So instead of paying Apple 15-30%, pay whatever hosting, bandwidth, & e-commerce costs you, and you get nothin’ in return. Let’s see, 30% of nothin’ is…

Conclusion

It appears that eating babies will not actually solve the overpopulation or hunger problems at this time, Mr Swift (no relation).

New Machines Friday Morning Music

What I’m Watching: Rings of Power part 2

(I had this series of toots in my notes, apparently didn’t publish. Whoops.)

Previously on Rings of Power

SPOILERS















Galadriel continuing to be a badass, but shitty diplomat, is one of the best blundering D&D PC portrayals. Again has less than fuck-all to do with the book character, and I’m here for it.

Dwarf: “I am a Dwarf an I’m digging a hole.” Mostly in his parental relations; I know the feeling. But it’s not built up much before this, was much cut from this ep?

“Don’t go to middle earth, it is a silly place.” I am deeply bored by Numenor’s politics, and whiny little Isildur. A swordfight breaks it up but then back to yakking. Elf-king’s a bastard; where did I last see him? Oh, right, Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Humans are 50% evil, 40% neutral, 10% good. Elf & Dwarf are pretty cute, tho. The one relationship in this given any love. New armor is all very shit except Galadriel’s plate, which looks OK except dangling chain bits.

One thing is clear from this series: Elfs are assholes. Everything is their fault in the first place, and then you have to give them all your stuff and die for them because OH, wouldn’t it be TERRIBLE if they went back to HEAVEN? And they ran that scam in the first age, they’re running it again now, and they’ll run it again in the third age. Isn’t that great? Nobody ever learns to say “fuck off, Elfs”. The one blacksmith who does is mocked by the evil vizier.

Arondir Elfpants’ fighting withdrawal is a little goofy, very Army of Darkness. But then the peasants try a High Plains Drifter defense and it’s obvious shit. Where did these incompetent peasants learn to shoot bows & stab with spears as well as trained Orcs (and untrained evil men)? Then deus ex machina, Numenor knows exactly which shitty peasant village to rescue. Yeah, map magic but it’s still bullshit, the entire region must be at war.

Adar: “We have a heart. We deserve a home.” Galadriel: “Genocide is good, because you are bad! Waah!” Yeah, that tracks. The thing the main LotR books & series couldn’t quite articulate, because Tolkien believed in “lesser races”. Queen is nice to peasant Bronwyn for all of 30 seconds until she can put a man of royal descent on the throne. Fuck royalty, kill all kings.

Fun fact: The initial survivors of Pompeii who didn’t get off the island all died from pyroclastic heat in the next day. There’s no Humans or Orcs surviving Mt Doom. DOOOOOooooom! Also I survived Mt St Helens (hundreds of miles away), and I can guarantee you it just shat grey ash on the ground, it didn’t apply an orange filter to everything. Fuck Hollywood cyan/orange. I haven’t mentioned the fucking ‘obbits, because they do nothing, the wizard did nothing.

Elrond lurking around the Dwarfs, “Man king” lurking around the Elf court, ‘obbits and wraiths lurking around the wizard, Queen lurking around the sea captain. None of these are good ideas. Clearly everyone would be better with their own, and the Elfs would all sail West, and there’d be no wars without them picking fights. So many preachy “nobody seen the trouble I seen” speeches.

The Three Rings of Power scene should’ve played the Airwolf theme, in honor of the greatest “engineers worship their creations” scene of all time.

Endless flute playin’ music as ‘obbit can’t go off the track. I ‘ate ‘obbits. Uh, and showing NZ square pastures delimited by trees, which seems unlikely for empty woods.

Pacing really sucks, there’s as usual 4 eps of content in 8 eps of streaming, would get ★★★★½ if it was edited down, barely ★★★★☆ as is.

Compare it to The Witcher. S1 was excellent, Cavill likes being Geralt, the plots were largely from the books, bit disorganized, should’ve just followed the Surprise. S2 was meh, went off-books, Cavill sorta saved it. S3 was off-books shit by the incompetent producer, and S4 won’t have Cavill. It’s down >50% from S1, instead of building audience.

Rings of Power succeeds where it goes off-book. Except the ‘obbits. Murderhobo Galadriel was fun.

Public Domain Monster: Mouseling

Mouseling (Swords & Wizardry stats)

HD: 2d6, AC: 6[13], Attacks: Nip (d4) or Weapon (d6), Save: 16, Morale: 8, Move: 12, Align: Chaos, CL/XP: 2/30.

Demi-humanoids with mouse-like features, no more than 3′ tall. Surprisingly robust and rubbery, they can survive being stretched, dropped, bounced down stairs, hooked with cargo winches. As characters, they may be Thieves (max Level 6), Fighters (max Level 4, HD d6), or apprentice Magic-Users (max Level 3). Giant-sized attackers have a –4 penalty to hit them.

Mickey Mouse

Mouseling Thief 2, Special: musical animals, CL/XP: 3/60.

Wannabe riverboat captain, and musician. Relentlessly cruel to other animals, and can use them to make musical instruments. All who hear this performance must save vs Paralysis or be stunned until the end of the peformance, or 2d4 rounds.

What I’m Reading: Inhibitor Phase by Alastair Reynolds

A couple years ago, when this came out, I read like a paragraph, and then realized I needed to reread the entire Revelation Space sequence (2000-2003), including the Prefect (2007) & Elysium Fire (2018). I haven’t at this time reread Chasm City (2001), even tho that’s the best book of the series, and the one you should read as an introduction IMO; nor the short story collections. Distraction and scattering in my tsundoku has made that a longer reread than expected. Short review of the series: Mostly great. I got bored rapidly of a lot of Absolution Gap’s annoying child who is more than she seems. Scorpio the Hyperpig gets way too much page time. The Prefect books are very cop procedural, in a shitty colonial police force with too many powers over Demarchist citizens. For all the books, I like the tech and setting details, and weird corrupted AIs are always a favorite feature, and body horror/lunatics like The Captain.

Inhibitor Phase (2021) shows a big difference in tone from the decades-earlier books. There’s a lot more concern with personal relations, with “feelings”; I don’t mean this in the cliché “hard SF fans want equations not emotions” way, just that murderous old Humans & Hyperpigs who haven’t previously shown much emotion, explaining themselves to each other, are out of character.

It starts with an isolated colony trying to hide from the Wolves (black cubes, Inhibitors, etc), willing to commit genocide on anyone dumb enough to seek refuge. Miguel, their leader, does not earn much respect from me then, or later when he has to deal with an intruder, or in the hundreds of pages of his whining “I’ll keeeeel you!” that follow. “Glass”, his captor/guide/nemesis, isn’t a lot better, wrapping a few moments of basic humanity in long stretches of emo edgelady transhuman (she’s not quite a Conjoiner, but more than most Ultras) contempt for baseline humans. The other people we meet, on or around doomed Yellowstone, are just as terrible; the Pigs aren’t as bad, but they don’t do much.

Finally halfway thru we get a classic Reynolds heist/assault that goes very wrong. It’s… overly familiar. I really should have reread some of the short stories, because I think much of it is in there. There’s some deliberately gross torture, the fights are cinematic but not entirely sensible.

The final section’s an update of Ararat from Absolution Gap, with unusual behavior from Pattern Jugglers; nothing is explained because nobody knows. Glass and Miguel undergo changes, much as Sylveste and others do in Revelation Space. More interesting outer-space piloting scenes, made easier by the Plot Coupons earlier collected. An alien ship heist at last, and Glass-ish now has too much knowledge. Scorpio/Pinky gets to say “what?” a lot (and I don’t think his lifespan and survival at this point is plausible). Another cozy emotional feelings ending.

Most Reynolds I blast thru in a sitting or two, this took many days, I’d often hit a wall of annoyance at feelings or vacation time. Off and on it gets back to the main plot and I’m interested again.

★★★½☆ – unfortunate, since I love the earlier books, and needed more closure than this.

Much of the future from here has been plotted in Galactic North and other short stories, Humans scatter and do well and poorly for a while, with less Wolves on their backs. There’s another Prefect book, Machine Vendetta, coming next year, presumably backfilling the end of the Belle Epoque. Hopefully he can stay more on topic?

Moo! LambdaMoo.

Re the lispygopher chat, just a few thoughts longer than a toot.

I played the hell out of MOO back in the ’90s, as well as ran my CircleMUD (D&D-like combat-oriented) for a while, and my own CloudMUD system which was a Java chatter with rooms you could put images in. I have my more recent in-development-maybe VRMicro project which reduces it to sprites walking around reading files in a 2D memory palace.

Terms:

  • MUD: Multi-User Dungeon. A server runs a virtual world, you connect with a chat client, interact with it like interactive fiction but with other people. These vary from MUSH/MUCK chatters, to MUD which was adventure-oriented.
  • MOO: MUD Object-Oriented. Users can create their own objects, script them with a fairly powerful LISP-inspired system.

I’d love to have one back, and I’ve even recompiled LambdaMoo locally and it works, BUT.

Moderation then was awful, and on the Internet now it’d be disaster. See My Tiny Life but imagine millions of cybercriminals and trolls.

MOOs require you to moderate objects, rooms, & scripts as well as people. You need several staff 24/7, who are calm, serene, at least competent hackers, with the wisdom of Solomon, and the righteous fury of Judge Isaac “Hanging Judge” Parker. It’s an impossible task to make safe.

The technical side is also tough. Nobody really wants telnet anymore. In theory you could make a distributed one with Spritely Goblins or something else, but I haven’t seen a practical example of:

  1. Shared server state,
  2. Someone owns their own developments,
  3. Multiple clients contributing,
  4. With moderation.

All those parts are important.

What I’m Watching: Monarch Legacy of Monsters

Eagerly awaited, because we have a long tradition of great Godzilla TV shows

It alternates between a 1950s origin story, and 2010s post-G-Day. Somewhere in between is Kong Skull Island.

SPOILERS














In 2010s:

“San Francisco was a hoax. I have a podcast.” is the most realistic reaction here. Love the Godzilla evacuation plans & defenses, missile turrets on overpasses. Tokyo’s taking it seriously.

First ep is setup and family drama. Cate (Anna Sawai from Pachinko) is kind of stiff and useless, except when she’s freaking out at her PTSD, flashbacks of Godzilla from the trailer.

Her half-brother Kentaro (Ren Watabe) is a jackass, emotionally closed jerk with no useful skills. May (Kiersey Clemons) the expat haxxor is the only modern character who has their shit together.

Monarch starts to show up, with slightly implausible network access. Why are all the secret files blacked-out redacted? Actual secret files are not blacked out, you only get that in publicly-released versions.

In 1950s:

Leland Shaw (Wyatt & later Kurt Russell) really needs to carry heavier weapons, a pistol does not cut it. Wyatt’s not one of nature’s good actors, but he’s adequate and carries “I am my father but softer”. The black eye he starts with tries to butch him up some, but he’d never be Snake Plissken.

Dr Miura’s (Mari Yamamoto, also from Pachinko) not super plausible, woman doin’ it for herself 20 years early, clearly writer ignoring setting. Weird how two people with completely different maps line up exactly right. What are the odds the scale is the same‽

Bill Randa (Anders Holm, later John Goodman!) as proto-Monarch is sus. Creepy guy in the jungle with impossible backstory. Miura should avoid him but as we know does not. The romance here is incredibly weird, fake, and gross, mainly because Anders is one of the most unfuckable humanoids I’ve ever seen. Shaw looks away like it’s skeeving him out, too, but I think it’s supposed to be romantic tension.

By ep 2 we finally see a new kaiju!

In 2010s:

Cate really needs to learn the first thing you do when a creepy dude stalks you, is stay in a public area and scream for police, not throw away all your stuff and get kidnapped. But Monarch creep Tim & his French ninja assistant Duvall really suck at investigation, interrogation, and extraction.

The hero party find the wise old mentor and join the main quest. At this point in a JRPG the title screen rolls.

Monarch does not come off well in this, they have resources and yet are utterly incompetent.

I like the two monsters we see, even if they’re very bad CGI composed into the scenes like Roger Rabbit. The enclosed space monster attack looks better; less ambitious is better when you’re not skilled. Maybe it’ll ramp up the monster visibility & quality later? I’m OK with it if they lean into bad FX.

I’ve definitely seen worse season starts, but I expected more, since Matt Fraction’s supposedly writing for it. Well, turns out these first 2 eps are by Chris Black (Desperate Housewives), and Matt’s only writing one ep later.

★★★☆☆