Rest in peace to one of my favorite authors, William Peter Blatty, who passed away today at the age of 89. Blatty is the author/screenwriter of the book and movie adaptation of "The Exorcist" (1971/1973). One of the scariest books I've ever read, and definitely the most piss-my-pants terrifying thing I'd ever seen. My brother snuck me into see it when I was 7, and I was forever traumatized. But... as an adult? I recognize that it's inarguably one of the finest horror/dramas ever made. Terrifying not just for visceral, jump out moments, but also in what it does to your psyche. RIP Blatty, and thank you for forever scaring the whiz out of me.
A lot of people are outraged at this, most notably those who have never seen him play/voice funny characters. "He's a knight, a dignified Shakespearean actor, why, wah wah wah". (Sure the movie probably isn't the best glorious piece of writing but hey. Let him have fun...?) I say he should have voiced the "thoughtful/thinking/pondering" Emoji though - it looks just like him! A missed opportunity.
One of the things I have been curious about is the narrative structure of the show. TOS felt like one little ship exploring the unknown because ALL we saw week after week was the ship emerging from an immense empty star field, and then recede back into it. Im re-watching season 1 now and am struck by how empty it feels in the part of the galaxy they are exploring. The bases they visit are either fully automated or maned by only a few people. The planets are dead and deserted. Kirk's ship seldom communicated with command. The whole concept of an "Earth Ship" Command was left pretty vague early on in that series. The concept of the Federation had not even been fleshed out. With good reason. All those details would have been a distraction from the sense of isolation and adventure. By the time TNG came around, "Federation Space" was more defined. The crew beamed down to sets that often looked like shopping malls. There were a lot more Star Fleet ships seen on screen. Then we got the Klingon and Romulan ... and Cardassian politics more fleshed out. You did not get the sense that Picard's ship was isolated on the frontier like Kirk's ship was. DS9, by sticking in one region of space for its entire run, created an even more fleshed out sense of place, will a heavy focus on the politics. As for Discovery, one thing we might infer from the casting is that they are going more in a DS9 instead of a TOS direction as far as sense of place and narrative structure. We have... [Is this a spoiler warning thread?????] at least 2 star ships that will house our regular crew. Maybe three if you count the lead Klingons. I think there are three leads who are Klingon, and one of them wants to unite the Klingon factions under one house. And now we have Sarek, the Vulcan ambassador, as a regular or semi regular. This show is going to be VERY political. With single episodes set in multiple, probably distant settings. TOS worked hard to make you feel at home on the Enterprise. DSC is going to feel different yet still be set in the TOS narrative universe. This could be a lot of fun, having the (literal) background to Kirk's adventures fleshed out in such detail.
Was in an old comedy mood earlier this week, and so I popped on two Marx Brothers' films, "Animal Crackers" and "Duck Soup." Both are great and full of laughs, particularly "Duck Soup." I also watched a documentary about the Marx Bros from 2003 or so on YouTube.
I am not writing it off at all. Delays can happen. Sometimes worth it. I think they announced and had big plans, but as they progressed and their ideas expanded? Maybe they just felt it was gonna end up being a rush job. Westworld (which I've yet to see but would like to as it is getting great reviews from many opinions I take seriously) was initially greenlit in 2013. It was eventually announced as premiering 2015, then didn't premiere until 2016...because they actually stopped and started over in pre-production, trying to tweak and perfect their take on the concept. Mad Max: Fury Road spent years in development hell, eventually started shooting a few years before it was finally released, because they too scrapped some material and started over in some ways. It was one of the best movies of 2015 (if not the best of that year). Sometimes these things have rocky developments as the ideas take shape. Maybe they come up with what they believe will be a better route midway through pre-production, and decide to pursue the new better way before they waste time shooting a pilot with an idea they think is now inferior or they have less interest in. I want them to take their time and get it right. I am still excited, still hopeful...I would love it now now now...but only in it's finished form. I don't want Trek to finally return in it's episodic glory only to be a half assed rush job.