First up. Cataline Recommends: Lost in Space (2018)
Yeah, I'm surprised I'm recommending it too.
I'm trying to figure out if I should hate this or not. I'm only three episodes in and so far I don't...yet and I was pretty sure I would.
The casting was race bent...of course. Black Judy Robinson hasn't been explained yet and I think they should. Wouldn't be too hard. She was the eldest. Just have John Robinson say something like, "I have had Judy since she was six months old. She is my daughter." That would do it. Ah well, maybe later. Additionally, Doctor Smith has undergone sex reassignment. Given audience expectations regarding an unnaturally close relationship between an adolescent boy and a mincing and prissy, middle-aged man, this casting decision was a regrettable but dire necessity.
Other characters have been changed around quite a bit too. Will was daring and impetuous in the original. In this one, he's rather cowardly. The daring and impetuous thing has been given to Judy. I was starting to roll my eyes about Judy Sue because it appeared that she was the one who was going to be doing everything right. But then her daring and impetuous thing nearly gets her killed and she goes into PTSD over the event. Okay so not quite Judy Sue and lets face it, the original Judy was the most useless character in the show, they had to do something with her. Also she's an eighteen year old MD now but that can slide because (a) all of the Robinsons were geniuses in the original LIS and (b) somebody needs to to be the medic. May as well be Judy.
Maureen is the brains of the outfit and clearly wears the pants in the family. John Robinson is now a bit of rock and pretty hen-pecked. He's dumb as hell and was some kind of Marine Corps operator of indeterminate rank. Apparently he and Maureen had separated and were getting a divorce. That was told in a flashback. What was also told in a flashback was that some asteroid was going to hit the Earth and also the atmosphere was now to poisonous to breath without masks, yada-yada everyone who can, is trying to get off the Earth and go to the new colony at Alpha Centuari. MacGuffin sequence initiated.
Interesting variation. The Jupiter 2 wasn't just by itself. The J2 was attached to a mother ship with a whole bunch of other Jupiters and colonist families when something happened...dun-dun-dun. Anyway Jupiter 2 crashes on planet that consists entirely of Vasquez Rocks. Meh, I'm used to that.
During an initial exploration Will finds an all powerful, alien battle android with amnesia that immediately bonds to him.
So Robot is basically this guy now.
It actually works.
Finally we meet Don West and Doctor Smith when they are escaping from the damaged mother ship. In this iteration Don West is a cynical mechanic and bad guy with a heart of gold. Doctor Smith is a ruthless Dark Triad female. And actually she isn't really Doctor Smith. Her real name is "June Harris" which was a nice shout out to the original Doctor Smith actor. The real Dr. Z. Smith was played in a cameo by Bill Mumy.
There were a lot of cliff hangers and nail biters in the first three episodes. A few minor jokes here and there but so far no Carrot People. Basically this is the version of Lost in Space as Irwin Allen originally envisioned it and not the ridiculous camp it turned into.
I am recommending with reservations.
I don't hate it yet but I'm sure I will eventually.
About Scooter Libby. The Lefty press can't really remember why they hate him and they don't want you to remember either but they do know they still hate him...for...some reason anyway. Bottomline: Trump pardoned him so Scooter has to be the Anti-Christ.
The truth is that everyone expected W. to pardon him on his way out of the White House. Hell, even the Democrats expected it. They would publicly bitch but they would understand about rewarding loyalty. And Baby Bush proved himself w-a-a-a-a-a-y too much of a cuck to do anything like that.
Good for President Trump.
Cataline Does Not Recommend: Troy Fall of a City.
The casting is an eye roller. As I said before, you can make a historical argument for Black Romans particularly if you are talking about the late Imperial period. There undoubtedly were a few by then (see: the Edict of Caracalla). They didn't offer any explanation for Black Greeks other than it's a British production and at this point you have to Race Bend...or else. I think the producers felt they genuinely had no choice in the matter. And the sad truth is, they're right. If you are producing anything in Britain today and you don't hit the diversity checkboxes you are in trouble. Real trouble. As in legal trouble. At this point that is a possibility there.
The other odd casting choice was Helen. I admit she's always a casting problem because she was "the most beautiful woman in the world."
This is apparently Helen
Her costumes were designed to keep you from looking at her face
I'm not big into fairness as you all know but to be fair she's not bad looking. But she is 10 years older than the guy playing Paris. The writers did write a Hermione in, when most productions forget to put Helen's daughter in these things. But this Hermione is about thirteen. We are talking about a thirty year old and very maternal Helen. Enough so that the audience is left with the impression that the Trojan War was started over a grubby Oedipus Complex.
So on to the production itself. It was cheap and I do mean Xena cheap. Also it was boring as hell. I ended up skipping to the final episode. Those are the two biggest reasons I recommend against it.
Now that said, it did have a few of things I liked. When you see Paris being raised as a shepherd, there is a scene where his adoptive father tells him the story of Actaeon, who spied on the goddess Artemis when she was bathing. In her rage she turned Actaeon into a deer, who was then chased through the woods by wolves and torn apart by them. Paris then turns to him asks, "the question is, did he think it was worth it?" I liked that bit. It told you everything you needed to know about Paris' character.
As always one of the biggest problems with any version of the Iliad, is trying to make Paris and Helen sympathetic figures. The writers tried. Prince Paris was raised as an illiterate shepherd so he didn't quite get the big picture of snatching the king of Sparta's queen. But with Helen they had to fall back on feminism. At one point she declares, that here in Troy men and women are as equals, which she had never been before. Yeah, bullshit. In most of the early accounts after Paris dies she is given to his brother Deiphobus, who she then betrays at the Fall of Troy, so I don't think she was super cool about that relationship. There are plenty of versions of the ancient story where Helen is cruel and treacherous but nobody has ever gone with a screen version of that...
Okay, yes fine Kolchak did go with evil Helen
Other things that I liked. When they had Odysseus plowing the rocks, they had him beat the fuck out of Diomedes when he put Odysseus' infant son in front of the oxen. That isn't in the ancient accounts but if there is any truth to the story at all, you know it happened.
Right before the first battle, the various goddesses walked invisibly among the soldiers that were about to fight. Choosing their champions.
Hera: Menelaus of Sparta, I bless you.
Aphrodite: Paris of Troy, I bless you.
Athena: Odysseus of Ithaca, I bless you.
It was effective and respectful of the original source material. Which in a nutshell, can be said of the whole production. But it doesn't change the fact that it's oddly casted, cheap and boring. I can't recommend it.
Okay, I'm done here.