May 14, 2019
March 27, 2019
The first season of Future Man premiered on Hulu. While undeniably well written, it frequently relied on crass, easy humor. We still watched it twice. Ed Begley Jr. served as a refreshing counterbalance to dick jokes and a gratuitous abuse of cocaine for cheap laughs. If you have been to the future, you know that cocaine is evil, and you should not make white of it.
The second season of Future Man retains all of the best elements of the first with the exception of Ed Begley Jr. The writing is tighter, the production value is higher, and the acting is as great as it was in the first season. Future Man is hilarious and worth your time, unless you happen to be William Barr, in which case, you should spend some time with your Bluebook learning how to format any future unsolicited legal memos. If your analysis is garbage, at least make it pretty.
March 18, 2019
The Irish sitcom Derry Girls is one of the finest television shows we have seen since M*A*S*H. While undeniably hilarious, the six-episode first season arc builds to a hand on a shoulder that knocked the wind out of us.
If you have never been to northern Ireland, you might not know that there are towers with directional microphones and cameras pointed at every corner of Derry and Belfast. The NYPD deploys mobile surveillance units that give Bushwick the same ambiance.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. A. Whitney Browne’s SNL monologues contain so many current cultural references he might be the best evidence we have that time travel exists.
When he delivered the punchline, “[c]ourse sometimes one candidate is such a pork fed pea brain that he’s even an embarrassment on Capitol Hill and in that case, the choice is easy. But we can’t all live in North Carolina,” he could not have guessed at the artless chicanery Mark Meadows would stab at thirty years later. SNL’s cold open that recapped the Cohen hearing did pass along most of the highlights, but it did so with defanged silliness. We could use a sage like A. Whitney Browne these days.
Amazon’s Comrade Detective is undeniably silly and intentionally prescient in a way that A. Whitney Browne’s writing only appears to be.
This paper from the Cato Institute is worth the time it demands of readers. Regardless of how you feel about the Cato Institute, this lede is objectively gripping:
“U.S. arms sales policy is out of control. Since 2002, the United States has sold more than $197 billion worth of major conventional weapons and related military support to 167 countries. In just his first year in office, President Donald Trump inked arms deals at a record pace, generating hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of potential sales.”
You can download the full piece here.
Nobody captures the dystopian scènes à faire like the Irish, and Samuel Beckett is one of the best. Beckett is probably most well known for Waiting for Godot, but the collaboration between Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Channel 4, and the Irish Film Board adapting several of Beckett’s shorts as films first aired in 2001. The project, Beckett on Film, was prohibitively expensive for even the wealthiest of our members, but a well written request to a library in North-Central Florida put the entire series at our fingertips. Until recently, however, our favorite shorts were not available online.
Play, set in the barren landscape of Beckett’s devastatingly rendered purgatory, witnesses the three corners of a love triangle repeating their stories as quickly as possible to satiate a spotlight that fixates on each of them in turn. This adaption is faithful to Beckett’s stage directions, repeating itself so quickly that a casual observer might not recognize the eternal loop implied by the characters’ repetition.
The late Alan Rickman is at his finest delivering some of Beckett’s more memorable lines such as, “adulterers take warning, never admit,” and “she had a razor in her vanity bag.” Nearly every line in this dense piece is worth digesting. Beckett rewards multiple readings, and this adaptation rewards multiple viewings.
While not strictly dystopian, this Alan Cumming short evokes Brazil and is punctuated with dark undercurrents. Alan Cumming, he’s so much fun. He makes my bathtime so much fun. Alan Cumming, we’re awfully found of you.
We forgot to pass this one along. Enjoy!
Read The Dreadmills before it is too late.
We are looking forward to the imminent release of Ready Player One, but we doubt anything can match the alternate reality game (ARG) that accompanied Ernest Cline’s DeLorean fueled book tour. The 2017 podcast Rabbits from the Public Radio Alliance focuses on one woman’s gradual investigation of an ARG. We desperately wanted the podcast to lead to another ARG, but, to our knowledge, no one has found a rabbit hole.
While listeners have analyzed the podcast for hidden clues in the background, the closest thing to a bread crumb anyone has found is a website for the in-universe Gatewick Institute. We sent an email to the contact listed on the website and received a cute, automated response reading:
“We are now tracking your participation. We will be in touch shortly.”
It is a cute marketing effort, but none of our members are yet playing Rabbits. We are still on the lookout for wardens.