Spooktacular: Coraline

Never saw or read this, despite a lot of Neil Gaiman in my bookshelf.

The stop-motion throughout is amazing. And preposterously expensive and time-consuming, to produce a thing that 80% of the time would be possible live-action, 10% would require some SFX, 10% would need CGI or painted cartoons. It does stand out, but Coraline is the only one who gets real facial expressions, apparently by swapping prostheses and editing out lines. I prefer a more Ray Harryhausen solution of stop-motion and green-screens.

A family with two workaholic drones and a pre-teen emo girl has moved into a weird old house, which never goes badly. How the house is divided up isn't all that clear; the family gets 2 main floors, the basement for 4 old biddies, the attic for the Amazing Bobinski & his mouse carnival. Little girl should not spurn the beets of Amazing Bobinski. He's amazing. Must be the beets. But his beats are weak.

Never put a banana slug up your nose. It may crawl up there and eat your brain and walk around as you, and that's how we get Republicans. Wybie survives by not having much there to start with.

Of course if you find a secret small door in your house, you should go explore it! (the ones in my house lead to a heating duct and a nasty unusable space behind the heater, not to fantastical other worlds, alas.)

The Other Mother goes from extremely friendly and Best Mom Ever, to somewhat more controlling.

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." —Leo Tolstoy

In this case, the family is unhappy because Coraline won't let Mother sew buttons in her eyes. Other than that, everything seems better there, and they see fine. I don't see why Coraline's so worked up.

The Cat in the other world is good, Keith David's a hell of a voice for it, but really it shoulda been Danny John-Jules. "Today I've made a whole lotta things MINE!"

So then a quest to collect the four mcguffins, which look a lot like random household objects, a boss fight, a ritual to banish the evil, but all done the way a kid would. The boss fight is very directly inspired/ripped off from a scene in Krull.

As is often the case with Gaiman's work, it's cute & "spook-adjacent", fairy tales and D&D, rather than horror, and this one is more for kids than usual.

★★★½☆

Halloween Movie Spooktacular: Beetlejuice

Every day is Halloween 🎃 to me, but for the next month+week, I'm in full spooky times. I've pulled up my entire horror/weirdo movie list, and I'm going thru them. Some are new to me, some very old.

  • Beetlejuice: 👻 Beetlejuice 👺 BEETLEJUICE. Geena Davis is so goddamned cute it hurts, but her rustic gingham dress and the boy's (Adam Baldwin, before becoming fat and evil) khaki & plaid make them look much more old-timey than the '80s. And drowning in 3m of water is ridiculous. I'm not a particular fan of Jamaican music, must say, and their fixation on it is… squares who don't smoke weed but wear Bob Marley shirts are weirdos.

I don't understand the purpose of Jane, the annoying neighbor/realtor, she doesn't own or sell the house, she doesn't impart any useful information, just hands over a key. Lydia could've found the key on a spidery lintel and this subplot cut.

Delia's (Catherine O'Hara) "hat" of two gloves twisted together is maybe the worst thing in this; her art's bad but her fashion is nightmarish. Charles (Jeffrey Jones) is close to a non-entity, he wants peace and quiet, and likes the rustic normcore of the dead couple, but when the plot needs him to scheme he turns feral again. Urgo or Otho or whatever (Glenn Shadix, Associate Bob from Demolition Man) is bizarre, pretentious, but maybe the only one of the invaders with his own plot & agenda, this feels like one weird scenario in a longer story for him.

Lydia, of course, this is the film that made me love Winona Ryder. Creepy little goth girls are my favorite. Overly indulged and rich, rather than the punk version I'm more familiar with. She has no fear of the weird, only annoyance at how tedious and self-indulgent her family are, and here's a normcore dead couple to imprint on instead. Pretty soon she'll be wearing black gingham.

Finally on to the freakshow! The underworld desert is very undeveloped in this, just sand, angular shapes, and stop-motion sandworms. I've seen a few episodes of the cartoon, which covers this more, but need to find & watch the rest.

The dead bureaucracy waiting room, all the dead workers, there's just fantastic character designs and makeup, and some great practical gags like the separated woman.

Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) is a little more lazy evil than the monster he pretends to be. He'll do evil deeds if he can get something out of it, but he's probably been doing this a long, long time, millennia, and can't really put in the effort anymore. "I've seen the Exorcist 167 times, and it keeps getting funnier every single time I see it!"

Juno (Sylvia Sidney) does a good Linda Hunt imitation, her advice isn't very useful as you'd expect from a career bureaucrat. "Never trust the living!"

The trivial access of the living to the Handbook for the Recently Deceased is a bit of a problem; so many ghosts leaving their books around would be pretty obvious.
★★★★★

What I'm Watching: Free Guy

Deadpool is a nebbish bank teller NPC "Guy" in Knock-off Grand Theft Auto Online, who becomes self-aware. Knock-off WildStyle (Jodie Comer, the knock-off of Liz Banks) is looking for the SECRET DATA that will FREE THE SYSTEM. There's a lot of idiot players running around shooting things, which is OK, but there are very few good action pieces for the protagonists. There is a meh kiss, otherwise entirely rated T for Teens, simulated violence and limited profanity, but no nudity. Almost everything this film needs to be interesting, is what it doesn't do.

There's a few unrealistic/terrible for plot things, to say the least.

  1. In MMOs, levelling fast by ignoring quests is not plausible. If there were high rewards for being "good guys", other power-gamers would do it to cheat up to max level, then go bad again.
  2. You can generally nuke or spawn any NPC or knock specific players offline from an MMO's management console. This "ghosting" accounts thing makes no sense.
  3. You don't keep servers physically in your corporate/dev headquarters, they're at some ISP on a main Internet trunk, spread around the world, managed by professional sysadmins and not a petulant man-baby with an axe.
  4. Even if you stole the code of some indie game, you wouldn't keep the original terrain running, wasting CPU/RAM.
  5. We've had "life simulators" where you just watch characters, all the way back to Little Computer People; they don't sell well, they're ignored after a few hours. Games need either a task, or sandbox you can screw around in.
  6. Hot girl realizes that she loves the personality of the ugly bobble-head-lookin' dude (Creepy Steve from Stranger Things) she worked with, even without Deadpool's face & body. Realistically, she'd obsess over her hot CGI guy and congeal into her chair over the next few years.

Everything in this has been done better in TRON (literally the core plot), Dark City, The Thirteenth Floor (especially the hot girl & simulated guy), The Matrix 1-4, and The LEGO Movie (literally the Special and WildStyle). It is better than the abomination of Spielberg's Ready Player One movie, but the book was of course far better.

★★★☆☆ generic movie fails to execute a much better idea.

What I'm Watching: Nope, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The One

Nope (2022): Jordan Peele's latest is fine. It's a better Twilight Zone ep than his Twilight Zone eps, but never gets as "Nope" as Get Out or Us. The "alien abduction is something else" story is adequate, OJ's (Daniel Kaluuya) borderline-ASD behavior and animal training focus are useful protagonist skills, as is Emerald's (Keke Palmer) perky extrovert energy, the actual thing revealed has a great design. Angel's (Brandon Perea) backstory is zero, he's there to be slightly useful and trail behind Keke (who wouldn't?), and make us nostalgic for Fry's Electronics RIP. "Antlers" Holst (Michael Wincott) is Werner Herzog but even more reckless. Sadly, the entire Jupe/Gordy plot is repetitive, slow, copied from Bojack Horseman (not really, but kinda?) and doesn't illuminate anything you can't learn from OJ. This could be a nice breezy 90-minute movie with flabby B-plot cut out, but instead it drags on over 2 hours. ★★★½☆ You know what would've improved this? Sightings/abductions start all around the world in the credits. This shouldn't be a one-off, but the beginning.

Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022): Almost precisely a remake/ripoff of Jet Li's The One but with Michelle Yeoh, a laundromat, a kinder ending. Michelle doesn't do much/any of her own fighting or stunts, which is much of the pleasure of a kung fu flick. There's some really good special effects, a lot of fun jokes. I like it for what it is, but I don't love or need it. Michelle used to be one of the best kung fu fighters/actresses ever, go watch Police Story 3: Super Cop, Supercop 2, Wing Chun, or Holy Weapon to see her at her peak (CTHD was a little past that). Ke Huy Quan (Short Round, Data from the Goonies!) is great to have back, he should've been the New Indiana Jones in Crystal Skull. ★★★½☆ but the ½ is only out of nostalgia.

The One (2001): Jet Li has to play himself and a super-villain version of himself, with different martial arts styles, generally done by him and his stunt double switching places mid-fight! Romantic plot with Carla Gugino is OK. It was savaged by dumb-ass American reviewers who'd never seen a high-speed wire kung fu movie, they shat themselves because actual skilled fighting is scary, racists didn't like Jet Li as the lead, and uneducated mooks didn't understand "multiverses", but 20 years later everyone loves excruciatingly slow tai chi with multiverses and CGI cartoons drawn on top. Fucking amazing film, reject conformity, watch good kung fu. ★★★★½

Star Trek Ranked

In the tone of The Last Star Wars Movie, every Star Trek thing ranked:

  1. The Original Series. Star Trek is, in short, Horatio Hornblower in space, the final frontier, exploring strange new worlds, and new civilizations. To boldly go where no (Hu)man has gone before. You know what works? Paying good SF writers to write good scripts about Science Fiction Ideas, and then getting good actors to read those lines, with adequate special effects to say "you are in space". They didn't always manage any of that, there's a reason it barely made 3 seasons, but when it hits the right points, it's the best art Humans have ever created. (Preferably pre "digital remaster", but the CGI shit does improve matters in a few episodes, inoffensive the rest of the time.)
  2. The Animated Series. Yes, the "animation" is sub-Hanna Barbera level. The matte paintings are gorgeous. They could do real alien aliens since they didn't need makeup. They continued to get real SF writers (including Larry Niven!) like TOS, unlike any other Trek show.
  3. Star Trek novels/novelizations by James Blish, John M. Ford, and Diane Duane. How Much for Just the Planet, The Final Reflection, and My Enemy My Ally are top of that group. I don't remember the Greg Bear book, but he's a great writer, should be acceptable if he didn't phone it in.
  4. Star Trek Movies I-IV,VI. I'm not gonna nitpick which is better, I honestly like I and VI a lot more than the usual rankings, but all 5 of these are great. Why didn't they make a movie V? Weird, huh?
  5. GalaxyQuest. This is the series finale Star Trek classic deserved.
  6. Lower Decks. Yes, it's a very silly-looking cartoon. And there's parts that are slapstick comedy… and parts are the kind of awe-inspiring, the Galaxy is a great place, let's go explore, heroism that Star Trek used to be about. It's like the lighter TOS eps, compressed to 22 minutes.
  7. Strange New Worlds. I'm already very tired of "Gorn" (they're not Gorn as we know them from "Arena", but knockoff Alien xenomorphs) eps. But I like most of the crew, the plots are generally good enough, they're not trying writing techniques far beyond their ability, it's just a good Trek show. Not best ever, but good so far.
  8. Star Trek Continues. Often exactly as amateur as you'd expect, and other times really manages to make A Star Trek Episode. Give it a try.
  9. Star Trek novels/novelizations by almost literally anyone else. I must've read dozens or hundreds of these, and most are junk, no better than slash fanfic.
  10. TNG. Not generally good, or well-written at all. It sort of finds the characters after 2 seasons of absolute crap. But there is occasionally exploration, adventure, Human spirit, all that. Eh.
  11. DS9, I guess. No sense of wonder. Very little exploration. Once in a while, it has a Science Fiction Idea and explores it for one ep, then forgets everything about that and hits the sitcom reset button. Implausibly promotes Miles O'Brien, most useless Human in the Galaxy, to a major character with a hot wife. Mostly it ripped off Babylon 5, and poached actors, because they had no writers, no direction, no ability to plot ahead. Later on it just got repetitive, then wrapped up a war with deus ex machina "let's all be friends because we're amorphous".
  12. Garbage, do not watch: VGR, ENT, STD ("better dead than Disco"), PIC, all of the other Star Trek movies. Just has nothing to do with Star Trek at all.
  13. Crimes Against Humanity: JJ Abrams' "Star Trek" movies. People who hate Star Trek and are soulless husks motivated only by explosions and lens flares shouldn't be making Star Trek-named shows.

I'm not too familiar with the Star Trek comics to put them on this chart; as opposed to Star Wars, where the Marvel comics are among the best material. The Gold Key & Marvel comics were mediocre, gap-between-series fillers. I didn't see any of DC, Malibu, or Marvel II's runs. Wildstorm's run was awful (and I liked their superhero comics, but they were bad at SF). The Tokyopop manga were hilarious, very off-model, off-character, not at all Star Trek except in the Futurama parody sense. I've only seen a few of the IDW comics, and while they're a solid publisher, they do goofy crossover shit a lot.

What I'm Watching: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds S1E04

I'm not gonna post every ep. S1E03 was a nice normal medical disaster ep, TOS had a bunch of those, every planet's full of plagues. Backstory for Number One and a bit for Dr M'Benga.

S1E04 is a little more involved.

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Why are they waiting to the final weeks to deliver AIR FILTERING to a shake-and-bake colony? How about you plan ahead a year and then there's no JIT emergency?

"I'm not going to let some doctor inside my head to try and fix me. I'm not broken, I'm fine." —Someone who is the opposite of "fine"

Oh, it really is Acheron LV-426 down there. Including Fig "Newt"-on. "The monsters come out and click at night. Mostly." Kid is never seen again. I really wanted the Gorn to get on board, have a crew hunt in lower decks, Fig escapes and Number One comes in with an exoskeleton and BFG "get away from her, you BITCH!" Anyway. We still haven't seen a Gorn.

What we do get is a submarine battle against a destroyer group.

Singh: "I will make that adjustment. But I will not lie to them." Ash: "…about their chances. But, they have my sympathy."

"Ortegas, full stop": You can't full stop in an orbit, inside a gas giant. Newton's physics still apply here.

It's the Galileo Two (the same shuttle survives 10 years?!) Never send all your good officers on a suicide mission. And don't do therapy when you're supposed to be scouting! The Gorn apparently still use signal lanterns and morse code on their FTL starships; keep banging the rocks together, lizards, you'll invent encrypted radio someday.

"Suit up, strap in", says a man on a bridge with no seatbelts. I wouldn't even want them to develop seatbelt or non-exploding control panel technology now, they never had it on TOS, but don't lampshade it, maybe?

The actual ship battles are pretty good; they've learned a little bit to fight in 3D space, to think about the ships as spaceships and not wet navy battlecruisers. It's not perfect, their physics is total nonsense, but it's so much better than almost any Star Trek's ship fights.

★★★★☆ Either lean a little more into the Alien ripoff, or more into Das Boot.

What I'm Watching: Love+Death+Robots S3

Previously, S1 part 1, S1 part 2, S2.

Short season this time. No spoilers?

  • Very Pulse of the Machine: Beautiful, adapted from a fine story by Michael Swanwick, which you should read everything he writes, especially Vacuum Flowers. ★★★★★
  • Mini-Dead: Horrific subject run at high speed and tilt-shift makes it adorable. ★★★★½
  • Mason's Rats: Mercilessly bloody, esp if you have any sympathy for rats. I do not, but some kind of accommodation with the enemy must be made. Neal Asher story. ★★★★½
  • Kill Piss Kill: Call of Duty garbage that starts with an asshole pissing at the camera and gets worse. Didn't finish, hate it, everyone involved should be composted. ☆☆☆☆☆
  • In Vaulted Halls Entombed: Call of Duty vs bugs & Cthulhu. Writing's a little better than the shit medium deserves. Alan Baxter, who no shit calls himself "Warrior Scribe", "The Lord of Weird Australia". Wanker, but not the worst modern Mythos story. ★★★☆☆
  • Jibaro: Mount & Blade battle between a jewelled Siren and a bunch of knights… but one is deaf. And you want what you can't control. Excellent illustration of D&D encumbrance penalties. Very pretty. Written/directed by Alberto Mielgo. ★★★★☆
  • Swarm: The Bruce Sterling story! Kind of overly gross, dark, uncanny valley graphics, but the aliens look great, the Nest is nearly complex enough to be the Swarm. Doesn't flinch from the story ending. ★★★★½
  • Bad Travelling: Neal Asher again. Sailors deal with a bad case of crabs. Good story, CGI looks potato-y like the old videogame Summoner, characters except the navigator are moral & personality voids. It's the 3rd of 3 short stories in the Jable Sharks world, but only one adapted. ★★★★☆
  • Three Robots: Exit Strategies: Scalzi tries to be politically correct. He will be first to be killed and eaten after the apocalypse, as we all hate smug jerkoffs. I almost appreciate this one for letting my contempt for Scalzi reach a new low. ☆☆☆☆☆

This season there's not a single female writer, 2 directors are women, but one is of that CoD shit, earns a demerit to the female side.

What I'm Watching: Star Trek SNW S1E2

Second episode greatly improved on the first. I guess I'm subscribed and watching this. Nobody is more surprised that Mark liked a modern Star Trek than Mark.

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Mostly liked.

The Captain's dinner was bad. A) I really really dislike their "casual" being mostly 20th C stuff, obvs Pike's old-fashioned, but it's too retro. TOS set a clear standard that the fashion & music & entertainments of the future are NOT just rehashed pre-apocalypse stuff. B) Ortega's gutter trash look is completely inappropriate for Starfleet, even casual. James T. Kirk wouldn't put up with that kind of disrespect to the service. C) The grilling/hazing of Uhura is poor team-building, but also everyone goes on at length with bad writing nobody would ever say. Very cringey first act.

The comet/alien artifact is fantastic, though. Great design for it. Alien thing that is actually alien and inscrutable. A seemingly simple problem, in TOS it would probably be a Prime Directive violation, but they just set up the PD last episode, so here they can just fix it. Except it's not that fixable.

Uhura gets to use linguistics (kind of a useless skill when you have a Universal Translator) and singing, tho she mostly hums. But she can carry a tune. Sam Kirk gets to be "the guy we zap or knock around because he can't die until TOS" for this series. Spock and Singh just stand around and be useless, but Spock & Uhura (and a bit with Nurse Bleach-Blonde Chapel) actually are funny, there's good writing here. Did they borrow writers from Lower Decks?

The alien menace is kind of ridiculous, bad face on the screen, weird shapeship that doesn't make a lot of engineering sense. For "advanced" aliens they have incredibly bad aim and weak, standard-issue plasma torpedo weapons. In Star Fleet Battles terms, they're like one of the minor races, no new tech but a bigger ship, any good pilot can beat them with a stock Heavy Cruiser.

The natives on the planet are barely seen, little fake camp pounding grit, hard to believe there's millions of them. If they're the reason you're doing this, at least show something sympathetic.

I really hope this doesn't turn into "every alien thing has TIME POWERS", because I'm annoyed by that already.

★★★½☆ but keep in mind I'd rate all of TNG, DS9, VGR, ENT, PIC, & STD ★☆☆☆☆ to ★★☆☆☆ with only rare ep exceptions, so this is some high praise from me.

What I'm Watching: Star Trek Strange New Worlds

So I haven't watched much of Star Trek: Discovery (STD, how unfortunate), the incompetent captain should've been fired… out a photon torpedo tube. There's apparently backstory to this series in it? But I'm gonna go ahead anyway. Better dead than Disco. And really I disdain all official Star Trek past TOS, TAS, movies I-VI (weird they never made V), and Star Trek: Lower Decks. So a new series is pushing a big stone uphill to even get me to watch it.

Theme song is far too mellow, but at least it's not ENT. The scenes with tightly packed walls of "asteroids" make me annoyed, but you know, dumbass visual designers gonna dumbass, may have nothing to do with the show.

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"Pike" is ominously brooding, call to adventure rejected, manly man gonna ride his horse in the snow, gotta go save the girl, yada yada. In reality, Anson Mount is a Confederate sympathizer inbred hillbilly "men's rights" garbage person, who I honestly don't expect to survive a season without some horrible racist/sexist/homophobic scandal. There's just no way. But let's pretend this jackass can keep his shit together for a while.

Security is a girl named La'an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong). That's literally like naming your kid Adele Hitler. Khan was a mass-murdering genocidal tyrant just 100-ish years before this, nobody's going to have his name. And in previous (later) Star Trek continuity, genetically engineered people like Bashir are hated freaks because of the Eugenics Wars. In the continuing saga of never casting Indians as an Indian tyrant and his cloned descendants, they found a Chinese-English actress. At least it's not honkie Benzedrine Crumpledpants this time.

Doctor M'Benga at least knows what Singh is, and the young and horribly bleached-blonde Nurse Chapel. M'Benga might actually not be bad; the character was in a couple TOS episodes.

Spock & T'Pring are horny young people, formal but not flipping between emotionless/raging hormonal maniacs as they ought to be, but nothing past TOS has ever done Vulcans well. Meh. Spock is played passably but uncertainly by Gregory Peck's grandson, but the kid really doesn't seem to know what he's doing.

Young Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) is… this is petty, but I don't like her look, buzzed-off hair, doesn't fit with Nichelle Nichols in any way. The actress does sing (but IC hasn't had a chance yet), but AFAICT from Youstubes only covers of alt/pop songs ("Isn't it Ironic?") We'll see. Actually a lot of the crew have really shitty Zoomer hairstyles, mullets and fake cornrows and such. Also very modern jumpsuit outfits on most, instead of the mini-skirts & overly tight slacks of the era. This is visually going to age very very badly.

Transporters are used for some tricky stuff that shouldn't be possible for at least a century or two later, they are super unreliable death machines at this time. Maaagic transporter medicine delivery, no.

Nobody has ever actually read their mission briefing, they just showed up in a rush and are waiting for the boss man to tell them what to do. This is not reasonable para-military procedure. I compare it very unfavorably with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, where the unfinished refit of the Enterprise and new crew are handled perfectly.

The actual mission, all 15-20 minutes of it, is pretty good TOS-style shenanigans. First contact with asshole planet, ridiculous genetic hacking disguises that wear off when it's inconvenient, sneaking/fighting thru an alien building which is just some brutalist design community college or business center. A preachy speech fixes everything (but blaming America for WW3 instead of, say, Russia? Silly but consistent with the worst eps of TNG).

The aliens have no personalities, no motivations. The leader woman with no name has a brief self-justification, stiffly read. Back in the day, aliens got names, personalities, and plots of their own. I understand actually giving a shit about your job is hard now.

The scout ship that starts this thing is weird. It's a Hermes-class scout ship, which is just an undergunned Saladin-class destroyer; anyone who's played Star Fleet Battles will have destroyed entire fleets of these things, they're cheap but very low on warp power. There should be a crew of dozens to run that, but there's 3 people, and only one of them can even talk when they're rescued? Who ships a main character and two line-less redshirt extras on first contact?

Later, preposterously grimdark backstory for Noonien-Singh, partly told earlier in the most awkward and inappropriate way possible, possibly because the script didn't get edited at all, so much as thrown at a wall. Why not cannibalism and beating her father to death with his own shoes, too? The Gorn don't lay eggs and especially not in "breeding sack" animals, they give live birth, and also hadn't been contacted in this time, Kirk's fight in "Arena" was first contact. Oops all around. Maybe she just had a bad weekend in Manchester and thought they were Gorn.

Pike has his own grimdark backstory and foreknowledge of the wheelchair but not The Cage, his dialogue is often pretentious and slow, but every captain's got their own style. Maybe he'll loosen up.

Not as terrible as Star Trek Discopants or Picknose, I didn't hate anything just disappointed with a lot of the casting, set & costume design, inattention to continuity. In 7 days, I can watch E2, and will decide if I'll keep Paramount+++ for another month or shut it off immediately.

What I'm Watching: Severance

Well, it's on TV+ which normally I treat like a sub-Disney® quality back-alley shithole gutter of the most boring shows ever conceived by AI to lull Humans into submission before mulching the species (that popular one? That's the one I mean.), but Severance seems fun! Very Office Space, and The Office, and Better Off Ted, crossed with Paycheck (best Baffleck movie; mediocre PK Dick adaptation; worst John Woo), but even more brain fucking and crying. Also some of the Stargate SG-1 episode "Beneath the Surface".

A woman (Britt Lower) wakes up in a windowless underground office, doesn't know who she is. A man (Adam Scott, very punchable face but I'm not sure where I've seen him before) cries and then goes to work and is chipper and kind of pointless. The office job is pointless, maybe relentlessly stupid. Maybe it'll make more sense later? Their outside lives are frankly not that good for the kind of pay you'd expect to get for taking this job.

The office maze is driving me a little crazy. I'm pretty sure it's just a grid. They walk & talk right, right, right, left and are somehow in a different corridor. But they all look the same. The "break room" and "wellness room" are just like the "break pods" at one corp job I had, where it was almost literally a punishment to be sent there if you were having a rough time of it.

The office procedures are repetitive nonsense. The coffee is Rwandan. Literally blood coffee.

The biggest irony of this show is that it looks and acts like Apple already does. If Timmy Apple could do this to people, he absolutely would. Forcibly. With drill holes in the skull. He's already threatening people with their jobs or coming into the UFO-shaped office to catch plague, what's a little endless torture in a fluorescent-lit Hell? How did this get past their own self-awareness and PR?

Also doesn't help that they're promoting in pre-roll fucking ads wecrashed, a documentary about WeWork's cult, rise, and fall, which looks excessively like Severance. This isn't really an SF show, it's just how corporate workplaces already are. The cyberpunk dystopia of my yout' is here.

I'm not a fan of the episode length, nearly an hour. Half inside, half outside; but at least so far the inside is fun, light, gets to the point and tells the story, while the outside is long meandering talks with people that drag on for an endless eternity with maybe a minute of plot. I'm going nuts sitting thru this junk. Half length, and it'd be twice as good, as I often say about these bloated streaming waste-of-hours. I don't get it; there's no advertising, so why make it take forever?

TV+ continues to be the absolute worst app in a long cycle of shitty apps from Apple. I select the show in the main TV+ window, but can't see the title of each ep. Guess the next one's the first unlabelled video blob? Then it opens a player window. Of course you can't even screenshot, I have to use my iPhone camera if I want to take notes or something (like the weirdo keyboard, or the partial floor map). I'm surprised Apple hasn't embedded a "don't take pictures of this" signal in the show. Yet. Just wait until they issue Eyes with content filters.

★★★★☆ so far, aside from the pain in the ass of watching it on TV+.