Reviews for September 2023

Updated on Friday, September 22, 2023



Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Review:Movies:Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Very nearly skipped this as the Crystal Skull installment was atrocious. The dial is the Antikythera mechanism which is cool, although it's a toddler proofed version with a very different function than the original. The film's heart is in the right place and it's much closer to the originals, but the CGI young Indie kind of sinks it. Harrison Ford is showing his age but better than any plausible replacement (definite Joe Biden vibes) and I wish they'd stuck with that. Instead there is a lot of flashback to fake young Indie which would make for an impressive demo but doesn't work in a major movie. Maybe the technology will get there one day, or maybe we should hand the baton on to a new generation of heros (again with Joe Biden parallels).

Operation Napoleon

Review:Movies:Operation Napoleon

Fun Icelandic thriller about a Nazi plane that crashed with a mysterious cargo.



Haunting music and video by London Grammar. Keeps growing on me.


FiveThirtyEight Politics

Review:Podcasts:FiveThirtyEight Politics

In the run up to Trump's first election I started listening to the NPR Politics Podcast. It was hard to keep up, and the opening with the hour and minute where the content would still be relevant was on the nose. It's since got tired, and they unfortunately switched to a daily update which doesn't have much depth. Safe to say if I'm listening to a politics podcast I know the headlines already. Luckily I also started listening to FiveThirtyEight Politics. Nate Silver might be gone, but it's still great, diving into nerdy detail on the tiniest little thing. This goes to the top of my queue each time it's published, mostly twice a week at the moment.

Intrigue Burning Sun

Review:Podcasts:Intrigue Burning Sun

Disturbing reporting on K-Pop, rape and the Koran legal system.

Intrigue Mayday

Review:Podcasts:Intrigue Mayday

A dead British soldier, the White Helmets and fake chemical attacks in Syria.

Intrigue Tunnel 29

Review:Podcasts:Intrigue Tunnel 29

Yes I will be listening to the entire back catalogue of Intrigue this month. Tunnel 29 is the story of a tunnel under the Berlin wall. It's the best from Intrigue so far.


Good Omens Season 2

Review:TV:Good Omens Season 2

The archangel Gabriel shows up naked at Aziraphale's bookshop, hijinks ensue. Great sequel.



In principle Kaleidoscope is very clever because you can watch most of the episodes in any order, and Netflix says that everyone gets a random shuffle. In practice though it's a heist and so you already know every detail, only the specific macguffins and flourishes need to be added. I enjoyed it.

Special Ops Lioness Season 1

Review:TV:Special Ops Lioness Season 1

A little soapy. I'd rather watch Jack Ryan and Grey's Anatomy separately rather than mashed up together like an experimental ice cream flavor. Has its moments though.

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Reviews for August 2023

Updated on Sunday, August 27, 2023



Brooklyn 45

Review:Movies:Brooklyn 45

Both a sensitive movie about coming to terms with the transition from war to peace at the end of WWII (as well as foreshadowing some other transitions) and a really average seance horror movie. Overall I don't regret watching it but this didn't need the hokey special effects (down to an actual shot of a photo with its eyes moving a little bit).

Heart of Stone

Review:Movies:Heart of Stone

80% Mission Impossible, 20% Minority Report. Nothing new to see here, but it's a fun enough ride.

Luther The Fallen Sun

Review:Movies:Luther The Fallen Sun

Luther hits the big screen. Really not the same without Ruth Wilson. It's fun and over the top but more silly than dark.



Scientists figure out how to transplant literal years of life from the poor to the rich. What could go wrong? Lots of twists and turns, this was pretty good.

The Pope's Exorcist

Review:Movies:The Pope's Exorcist

Russel Crowe shows off his Italian, retcons the Spanish Inquisition and shows the devil the door. It's OK.


Where is my mind

Amazing performance of an incredible song.


Search Engine

PJ Vogt's something turns out to be Search Engine, which so far has consisted of idiosyncratic deep dives that remind me of another podcast that died too soon...




Two hours of thrills unfortunately packed into a 7 episode show. A couple of episodes in I was rooting for the Hijackers. By the fourth, I just wanted the plane to be shot down. They spend three episodes figuring out the guns are loaded with blanks, although to start with they insist the guns are fakes which is a different proposition entirely and then it turns out that they also have real bullets. That's about 3 hours of plot. Feels like it was written in one sitting and then never checked for continuity or tension or interest. When Generative AI is making TV shows on demand this is what I imagine they'll be like.

Jack Ryan Season 4

Jack Ryan Season 4

I've got some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that you get to make one more season of Jack Ryan.

The bad news is that we really had to scrape the barrel to fund it. Your primary sponsor is the State Tourist Board of Myanmar. Their goal is to keep people away so you only get to include shots that look like the suburbs of LA and the plot can't do anything to upset the Junta. Other than that you have complete creative freedom. Although Jeff insists that one scene can be summed up as "No, Mr. Ryan, I expect you get to wrapped up like a cucumber".

We also got a few bucks from JLR so every third shot has to be a Range Rover looking awesome. Have fun!

Silo Season 1

Review:TV:Silo Season 1

Foundation was a big disappointment to me, de-Azimov'd generic SciFi, so I was pretty nervous about Silo. It's an adaptation of the first few installments of Hugh Howey's epic Wool series. The TV version doesn't dare to be quite as good as Wool, but it's pretty decent with a great cast and spot on production design. Looking forward to the next series already. If you haven't read the books then you're missing out.

The Outlaws Season 2

At this point it's Breaking Bristol. It's rare to get dramedy right, this is great.

The Witcher Blood Origin

Review:TV:The Witcher Blood Origin

Ever wonder where Witchers came from? Me either, but they're going to tell you anyway. This has an awesome cast - Michelle Yeoh with Lenny Henry! And the special effects and production values are similar to the main series. It's not that good though. Four episodes is a really awkward canvas. It might have been a tight film or an entertaining series but it's both not enough and too much for the space available.

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Reviews for July 2023

Updated on Saturday, July 29, 2023





Losely a sequel to Zeroes (same universe, different lead character), Invasive is a thriller about saving the world from genetically modified killer ants. It's a very competent beach read kind of book, keeps the pace moving along briskly and gets the job done. His Miriam Black series is much better (and darker) and I am on the cusp of dipping into Wayward, the sequel to the rather good Wanderers.

Killing Moon

Review:Books:Killing Moon

I thought I was done with Harry Hole at the end of Book 12, but he's surprisingly back and with an ending that strongly hints at more. This time Harry is forced to solve a crime outside the Norwegian police by some hand waving circumstances in Los Angeles. The main plot is another very nasty killer with many red herrings along the way. This series is my favorite Scandinavian Noir and it's a very solid installment but start at the beginning if you're new to it. There is a lot of history with many of these characters.

The Starless Crown

Review:Books:The Starless Crown

I really struggled to finish this book, to the point it backed up my reading and had me turning to Netflix for several months. It's a pity because the concept is great, a fantasy quest in a distinctly Sci Fi milieu, and many of the scenes are phenomenal. Maybe it will make a great movie or TV series one day. But the actual mechanics of the prose are leaden and tropey. Not a series that I'm planning to continue.



I watched Blackberry expecting to find out something interesting about the history of the famous business accessory, or maybe the phone version of the outstanding Halt and Catch Fire. Nope. Apparently they built it with swearing and then once people fell in love with the iPhone the company died. Nothing to add here.


Funny movie about our particular version of reality getting shut down. I like that the reason for the simulation is inconsequential, see this.

Fast X

This is one of those irritating moves that doesn't really end and just sets up the next chapter. It's also an exercise in too much CGI, some of it unforgivably bad. Beyond that I don't remember much, and I don't know much about cars so the fact he's in a Spaghetti Chiron Ghia means nothing to me. Some of the earlier installments were OK. I've watched between 3 and 12 of them.

To Catch a Killer

Review:Movies:To Catch a Killer

To Catch a Killer is a competent, adult police thriller set in Baltimore. It doesn't have any particular angle or seeming reason to exist in today's cinematic landscape. It's just a well made gift that arrived for no reason. Lucky rent.


Don't Delete the Kisses

Low key but can't stop going back to this by Wolf Alice.


The Days

Review:TV:The Days

The Days tells the story of the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. A nuclear catastrophe is always pretty gripping and I was pretty gripped. They clearly didn't have the budget to compete with HBO's Chernobyl though, and seem to have gone for a daytime Emmy instead. The special effects were not that great, and some of the acting was more horrific than the meltdown. There is one nuclear advisor who emotes surprise like a Tasered fish and you wonder if AI actors might be a blessing in some cases.

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Reviews for June 2023



I See You

A small town where kids mysteriously vanish. This is quite clever in how the story changes perspective a few times before being resolved.

John Wick 4

Review:Movies:John Wick 4

Very pretty, but also very flabby.

Knock at the Cabin

Review:Movies:Knock at the Cabin

Sophie's Choice, set in an Airbnb.

Scream 6

Gory, not clever, not sure why I bothered.

The Last Sentinel

Should have ended: "What did the cats, the horse, the swallows, and Rob do to deserve this?". Reasonably atmospheric in places but ultimately not that good.

The Wandering Earth 2

Review:Movies:The Wandering Earth 2

I very nearly skipped this because the first movie was action trash, like a Chinese take on the indecipherable Transformers movies. The Wandering Earth 2 is a prequel, about dueling visions of how to escape the imminent demise of the Sun. Option 1 is attaching thousands of engines to the Earth and moving it to a different solar system (you can guess this is what ends up happening). Option 2 is digitizing people. It's never made entirely clear where the digitized people would live once the Earth has been engulfed by the Sun, but you're not going to enjoy this movie if you stop to think about any part of it for too long. Like why does a space elevator use rockets? Despite all this it's really good and has the Liu Cixin vibes that I missed from the first film.


Anatomy of a Scandal

Review:TV:Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of a Scandal has shades of the original House of Cards but without the dark humor. It keeps the pace up and the revelations coming, pretty good overall.



Beef is a Korean-American focused comedy about a parking lot altercation that rapidly spirals out of control. It's outstanding.

Succession Season 4

Review:TV:Succession Season 4

This ended as well as it could have. Roys, you suck but you will be missed.

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Reviews for May 2023

Updated on Saturday, May 27, 2023



Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves

Review:Movies:Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves

Exactly what you'd expect. Fairly funny mostly good spirited quest adventure that is over-reliant on one gizmo that makes this more like Portal: The Movie.



It was clearly the weekend for AI children. After The Artifice Girl I decided I needed to watch M3gan, a horror take on the same sort of topic. The Artifice Girl is thoughtful and quietly disturbing, M3gan has a traditional horror vibe and explores the topic of turning childcare over to technology a little bit before just jumping to killing people. The robot is very very creepy which is good but also you wonder why anyone would trust the thing in the first place.

Polite Socity

Review:Movies:Polite Socity

Polite Society is a pleasantly bonkers tale of a girl trying to save her sister from a semi-arranged marriage in a British Pakistani community.

The Artifice Girl

Review:Movies:The Artifice Girl

The Artifice Girl looks like a three act play turned into a movie. It follows the evolution of an AI girl who was accidentally developed to ensnare online predators. The first act is hugely compelling and the second two can't quite hit the same level, but it's definitely worth watching.


Where's My Love

I wonder how much of the rise in depression can be chalked up to this one painful but beautiful SYML track? It's melancholy just listening but the video provides maximum bleakness.


I'm Not a Monster Series 1

I listened to this the wrong way round, starting with the second series on Shamima Begum. The first is the story of Sam Sally and probably due to having listened to the second series so recently it failed to grab my attention in the same way. It's not exactly the same story, but just how many women ran off to join Islamic State only to discover it wasn't a super empowering society?

The Coldest Case in Laramie

Review:Podcasts:The Coldest Case in Laramie

There really should be some naming convention for investigative podcasts that indicates if the case was cracked or not. This is one of the many disappointments that leaves you none the wiser. The highlight is some real insight into just how manipulative the police can be when forcing a confession. Regardless of the crime or level of guilt you really want a lawyer in the room with you.

The Political Party

For UK politics The Political Party has got the goods. Matt Forde interviews anyone who is anybody and quite a few fascinating people who aren't. Even though his politics are not subtle he draws great stories and insights from across the political spectrum. The live shows usually start with some stand-up as well. One of my favorite shows each week.


Mrs. Davis

Review:TV:Mrs. Davis

In Mrs. Davis a nun tries to kill a powerful Artificial Intelligence. This involves finding the Holy Grail and at one point the Grail is in a sperm whale. I really wanted to like it, and while it started off well it got somehow worse with each episode and the whimsy outweighed anything else that might have been going on. Not worth the time.

Perry Mason Season 2

Review:TV:Perry Mason Season 2

I never watched the original, but Perry Mason on HBO is a fun trip to an alternative reality LA in the 30's.

Star Trek Picard Season 3

Review:TV:Star Trek Picard Season 3

For Season 3 Picard stops showing us retirement projects and reunites the crew of Star Trek Next Generation to fight the Borg and some Shapeshifters in a cunning plan to overthrow The Federation that somehow only affects The Youth. I'm all for it. This was the Star Trek cast that probably had the best chemistry and it's amazing to see them together again. The plot just takes a very long time to get going and the final battle involves thousands of starfleet ships that can't quite overpower one aged space dock. Worth it for some quality Worf and Data lines though.

The Bay Season 4

The Bay, from ITV via Britbox in the US is a police procedural set in Morecambe Bay. Although it centers around the family liaison officer it's still a very standard but entertaining whodunit.

The Night Agent

Review:TV:The Night Agent

I wasn't expecting too much from The Night Agent. It presents as a formulaic network FBI drama, but its sense of humour is far darker and it has a real edge to it. Based on a book so I'm going to go out on a limb and say any future seasons will be trash.

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Reviews for April 2023

Updated on Sunday, April 30, 2023



The Thing

I caught the 2011 prequel on Netflix which I completely missed when it came out. The setup was pretty great and then it all got fairly boring once the killing started. As a prequel it's set in the 80's and it's really hard to tell that this is true. There are no cell phones, but then you probably don't have any signal in Antarctica. The vehicles are old, but how often does a Norwegian research station swap out its snow-cats anyway? And everyone is wearing what you'd probably always wear to such a cold destination. It was pretty average horror and I wish I hadn't bothered.


Raw Raw

Nice new K.Flay track.


A Very British Cult

Review:Podcasts:A Very British Cult

A Very British Cult investigates a life coaching outfit called Lighthouse which seems to be very very expensive and for some reason brings some sort of cheap UK Scientology to mind.

Any Questions

Review:Podcasts:Any Questions

Every so often I'll review a podcast that is a regular listen rather than a series. It feels odd to call Any Questions a podcast as I grew up with it on the radio, but that's what it is to me now.

Any Questions is a long-running comedy panel show in the mold of Just a Minute. Politicians have one minute to talk about a subject without answering the question. As with many BBC panel shows there are many long running gags and in-jokes, like asking for more houses (just not in the community where the program is being hosted this week!), or any question involving HS2.

I went to see it live once but didn't get my question picked. There is a companion program called Any Answers which is less comedy and more care-in-the-community for people who decide to phone in.

I'm Not a Monster Series 2

Review:Podcasts: I'm Not a Monster Series 2

Series 2 of I'm Not a Monster is The Shamima Begum Story. Begum was stripped of British citizenship after joining IS in Syria as a teenager. The Home Office believes that she is a terrorist and others that she is a victim of child trafficking. Regardless of the truth this didn't turn out well for her and it's hard not to feel some sympathy.


Euphoria Seasons 1 and 2

Euphoria season 1 answers the question: what if Bret Easton Ellis had written Beverly Hills 90210? It's unflinching and hard to watch, a crazy mix of every horrible story about what the teens are up to these days. It makes me want to move my kids to Norway and home school, although I can't due to Brexit. Season 2 answers the question: what if Bret Easton Ellis quit and they had to go with a committee instead. It's initially gratuitous and then gradually becomes boring and self referential. I don't think I'm up for Season 3.

I downloaded this to watch on a flight and all things considered it's probably good that it didn't work. But HBO, really. I've been paying you for years and using the same phone and account for years and the second you don't like the look of my IP address you bail on me? For travel only Netflix really gets this right and works pretty consistently. Every other streaming provider seems to fail horribly at the slightest sign of travel.

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Reviews for March 2023




This was a random preflight download for me from Netflix. It's about a Belgian influencer who loses his mind after the arrival of a child (and the soundtrack nearly made me lose my own mind - the baby screams for most of the film and is only interrupted by things like eating soft fruit loudly). It was OK.


Mythic Quest Season 3

Review:TV:Mythic Quest Season 3

It's not quite as good as the first couple of seasons but still worth watching. I think this time around moving Ian and Poppy into their own studio was a mistake, but not as big as consummating the unconsumatable.

Poker Face Season 1

This is mostly talked about as a Colombo remake but I think Natasha Lyonne is channelling the Hoff because this really reminds me more of Knight Rider. Stranger comes to town, gets people out of jam, leaves. It's more about that vibe than the solving of any particular muder. Loved it.

The Last of Us Season 1

Review:TV:The Last of Us Season 1

Having just complained bitterly about Dark Summer skipping the apocalypse foreplay I was happy to see The Last of Us revel in it. This is what a high concept zombie show looks like. I'm sorry, it's fungus rather than zombies of course. I never played the game it's based on but it seems like zombies? They bite you and you get infected. As bored as I am with zombies this was really good.

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Reviews for February 2023

Updated on Monday, February 27, 2023



A Hundred Billion Ghosts

Review:Books:A Hundred Billion Ghosts

One day, for no reason, all the ghosts suddenly become visible. Hijinks, romance and too much detail about breakfast cereal ensue. Fun.

Children of Memory

This is the third book in Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time space opera series. Children of Time is about spiders becoming intelligent, Children of Ruin adds intelligent octopuses, a simulated human that runs on ants, and some kind of brain occupying bacteria which all together substantially expand the Children of... universe. Children of Memory stops things down a bit an focuses on a single colony gone awry, being investigated by an Octopus, the ant-simulation (an instance on more conventional hardware, well eventually more than one instance), a couple of spiders, a super-bacteria host and some possibly sentient crows. I think that's roughly it, it's been a while since I started reading these books and my memory might be mixing up a few plot points by now. The crows are really interesting - probably not sentient individually but in pairs they probably are. This is quite a poke at the state of modern AI and maybe a spin on Searle's Room (which I hate). It's a thought provoking and sometimes exposition heavy look at the nature of consciousness taking place against the backdrop of a holodeck episode of Star Trek given a movie budget. It's a very unique series and I'd like another one please!


White Noise

Review:Movies:White Noise

I haven't read the book this is based on but maybe I should add it to my list. The movie is a gorgeously renditioned 80's meditation on the fear of death. It's mostly funny or willfully strange but has a touch of disaster movie in the mix as well. I quite enjoyed it.


Burn Wild

Review:Podcasts:Burn Wild

Burn Wild sets out to answer the question "How far is too far to go to save the planet?" and I nearly gave up halfway through as it seemed to be giving too much credence to the idea that as long as nobody is hurt, it's OK to blow shit up. In the end though it doesn't let anyone off the hook, and several people come to realize that they did no good and may even have done some harm. Worthwhile.

The Missing Cryptoqueen

Review:Podcasts:The Missing Cryptoqueen

I'd never heard about Dr Ruja Ignatova or OneCoin before listening to this podcast from Jamie Bartlett that makes the case that it's a ponzi scheme rather than a revolutionary crypto currency. She has been in the news very recently and so I'm expecting another episode or two soon.

Although, to be fair, crypto has always bothered me as a way to describe Bitcoin and other blockchain technologies. Crypto means hidden or secret. Blockchains by their nature are very open and not secret - that's kind of the whole point. A ledger that is not distributed is a database, like what a bank uses (or a ponzi scheme). So maybe she has a point.


Black Summer Season 1

Review:TV:Black Summer Season 1

My favorite part of any apocalypse drama are the moments when civilization is just starting to fall apart. Like some anti-Gibson, the end of the world is here, it's just not evenly distributed. Black Summer just goes straight to the biting. No foreplay.

Why make yet another zombie show? Couldn't it be Mormans trying to fill the book of the dead a bit faster? Or environmentalists trying to slim the population down by seven billion people and you get infected by podcasts? Netflix, call me.

I loved early Walking Dead, and I think it was mostly the dialog. Those scenes where the cast is strolling through Georgia, on the way to some salvation that won't pan out and shooting the shit along the way. Black Summer probably has five lines of dialog in total. As if it realizes it has nothing to say the runtime reduces with each episode - 44 mins at the start, halved to 22 mins by the finale.

It's tense though so I'll probably still watch season 2.

Dark Summer Season 2

I tried. It's now winter (get it, the sequel to summer) and there seems to be a completely different cast. I wasn't that invested in the original lot, but I certainly don't even begin to care about these people. It keeps everything that made season 1 miserable but drops the tension. I made it to halfway through the second episode and then bailed.

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Reviews for January 2023

Updated on Sunday, February 12, 2023





Borne by Jeff VanderMeer is a Ballardian visit to a ruined city where biotech from a mysterious corporation has spread out and taken over. Borne is a fast growing lump of said biotech, found on a giant flying Bear by a scavenger called Rachel. Then, things get weird. Excellent book, and there is another installment called Dead Astronauts which I will get to soon(ish).


Berlin Syndrome

Australian girl falls for the wrong German guy, much captivity and violence ensues. Meh.

Emergency Declaration

Emergency Direction is a Korean film where a hemorrhagic virus is released onto a plane. It's reasonably diverting although fairly predictable. What I loved about it is that the introduction banged on about what a big deal an emergency declaration was and that it was martial law for a plane and they could land with top priority anywhere. By the time the captain declares an emergency half the passengers are dead, everyone else is infected and at least two countries had threatened to shoot them down. But being the title of the film they linger on it like it's a big deal that will change everything.


Allison Janney plays Liam Neeson rescuing a kidnapped child. I enjoyed it a lot.

The Lost City

Review:Movies:The Lost City

The Lost City with Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum and Daniel Radcliffe is trying to bring Romancing the Stone back. It's funny.


Roar Uthaug is the undisputed master of Norwegian disaster movies. Troll is less enthralling than his waves and earthquakes and tunnels though. There is a scene with some helicopters toting church bells that is worth the price of admission (free with Netflix) but the ending is very underwhelming. Also, a lot of it reads like a criticism of a multicultural Norway what with Christianity having driven the Trolls out to start with, and the need for church bells to scare the beast away. Then that plot is dropped and a Muslim soldier is introduced like some scriptwriters were fundamentally at odds with each other. Reasonably fun though.


Habits (Acoustic)

I'm listening to a lot of Tove Lo at the moment, and this acoustic version of Habits is why YouTube beats the living daylights out of any Dolby Atmos enabled streaming service.


Crypto Island

Crypto Island from PJ Vogt barely got started and then slowly died with months between episodes. Vogt tells a good story so it was worth a listen when it occasionally appeared but it was hard to piece together. I'm looking forward to whatever he does next, and he's apparently working on something.

The New Gurus

Review:Podcasts:The New Gurus

New Year's resolution: write more reviews. I stopped using Goodreads for anything meaningful a few years ago but had integrated it into my blog CMS to automatically post reviews. As a result these have become a little sad. I've just whipped up a new review system that doesn't use Goodreads as motivation to both write more and to review things that are not books (gasp).

The New Gurus is a BBC Podcast presented by Helen Lewis that surveys all kinds of modern woo. From bitcoin to productivity via health scams and equity training. As a skeptically inclined person I loved it and binged the whole series over a couple of days. Helen concludes that the New Gurus are mostly men mostly looking to find the right path to masculinity. I think you always need to be looking for what they're selling beyond the obvious - if it's vitamin supplements or a political candidacy the cult suddenly makes a lot more sense. With only half an hour per topic I also found myself wishing she could spend more time on each - I'd happily listen to a series on most of the subjects covered here. Highly recommended unless you're a believer in which case it will probably make you quite mad.

The Reith Lectures

Review:Podcasts:The Reith Lectures

I always enjoy The Reith Lectures, it's what the BBC is for. They also have a massive archive which is fun to dig through. This year has four speakers covering FDR's four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Two standouts for me. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie covered freedom of speech, and in the sense that I understand it, which is that you might get offended. An absolute barnstormer of a lecture. At the other end of the spectrum Rowan Williams mounted an incredibly poor defense for the freedom to worship. His central point seems to be that we need to prioritize minority opinions (i.e. Anglicans) in order to make progress on human issues and to the best of my recollection religion has usually been dragged to the new consensus at the end rather than the beginning. He also cloaked this intellectual dishonesty in feminism and gay rights which is frankly offensive from the former leader of a church that won't marry gays and doesn't think women can handle the job. I loved both for very different reasons.


Bosch Legacy

Review:TV:Bosch Legacy

I enjoyed the Bosch series on Amazon Prime. I haven't read the actual Bosch novels (there are a lot, if I start I might ever end) but I have read the four that costar Renée Ballard and those are pretty good. So I had high expectations for this new series.

Bosch Legacy is not on Amazon Prime, it's on Amazon Freevee which Amazon somewhat confusingly describes as a 'premium free streaming service'. Sounds too good to be true, and it is. It's chock full of really bad ads. I pay all kinds of money to avoid ads but in this case you can't even buy the series on Amazon, you have to choke down those ads to watch it. It's not as clunky as Hulu, but it suffers from not having many advertisers and so by the time I've seen the same ad for the 50th time I loathe that company with a vengeance. I'll never buy their products in the future out of spite, and if I happen to have any in the house I'll use the ad break to throw them out. Also, after using Hulu once I never did again. I think Freevee is in the same category.

At least all those ads paid to bring Bosch back to the faithful, right? Well, yes and no. The core cast of Titus Welliver, Mimi Rogers, Madison Lintz are fantastic and the plot is there, but the production is cheap and shows it. Early on Bosch's nice house which must cost a few bucks to film in gets red tagged and he's forced to move into some generic office. And they can't afford many cameras or crew either, there are regular cuts that just look off (like in a conversation when switching between actors and the person is clearly not quite where they should be). Overall it was OK, but tainted by being too cheap and in a bad streaming neighborhood.

His Dark Materials Season Three

Review:TV:His Dark Materials Season Three

The BBC/HBO version of His Dark Materials wraps up with season three based on Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. What a fantastic trilogy. And after the disappointing film this adaptation is a revelation. Pullman is going after the Catholic Church specifically and religion in general, but in a world of materialized souls in the form of daemons and actual angels. In the end the church is defeated and the multiverse saved by individual sacrifice more than the army assembled for the final battle. What a heartbreaking ending. Amazing.

Jack Ryan Series 3

Review:TV:Jack Ryan Series 3

Jack Ryan is back, thwarting an attempt to overthrow the Russian government. Right now that seems like it might be a good idea? Is he the baddie? This is very much Tom Clancy's and not Tom Clancy, but for Season 3 they've figured out that in a spy thriller the plot is of little consequence if it's happening with urgency against a backdrop of beautiful European cities and I'll watch that all day (or at least for a few nights). The main problem was watching this the same month as Slow Horses.

Slow Horses Season 2

Review:TV:Slow Horses Season 2

I love Mick Herron's Slough House books and was very excited that Apple adapted them for TV. The second season just dropped, and it's even better than the first. Still very faithful to the book but the characters are more comfortable and distinct. I hope they start work on the Oxford Investigations as well (a different but also good set of Herron books). With the first season I was very unconvinced by Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb (in my head this role was played by Daniel Ryan). Oldman has managed to get a lot more Lamb-like for season 2.

The White Lotus Season Two

The second season of The White Lotus is good but not great. There is a moment when Jennifer Coolidge's Tanya McQuiod asks for an Oreo Cheesecake and it's such a devastatingly wrong thing to ask for at a hotel in Sicily but a humanizing moment at the same time. But this series is more of a murder mystery and less of a tone poem. It's just a little less lucious, and outrageous and funny and relaxing. Please stop now and don't make any more. We don't need to go to The White Lotus Rochester Parkway.


Treason on Netflix is a brief five episode double-crossing spy caper. It's a little soapy - sort of a Harlan Coben's Bond, if that Bond was stuck in London.

(All images included with ITHCWY reviews are the property of their respective owners and are used to illustrate reviews only.)

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