I have been playing some Kerbal Space Program. The Science Bus was designed to roam the biomes of Mun and Minmus, doing science in each. This is its maiden voyage to Minmus.
Though the trip and landing went smoothly the vehicle itself doesn’t drive well on Minmus. The gravity is so low that getting traction is hard, and there’s some freaky physics at play which can have surprising effects. Still, it’s got engines and has plenty of docking ports to allow for refueling, so maybe it’ll see some use.
Quick Review: Black Mirror (Seasons 1 and 2)
Each Black Mirror episode is a little “mini-movie” that examines how we as a society use technology (particular mass media and communication). No two episodes overlap apart from that vague common theme.
It really is top-rate television.
It is profound enough to be thought-provoking, yet intelligent enough to not be preachy. That Times quote you can see in the image above? There is no exaggeration there. If anything it is too modest as it implies there was once something smarter.
So Black Mirror is smart. But it’s also plausible, engaging, and well-produced.
And Black Mirror does so much, peripherally, that I love:
- It uses little-known actors for big roles. There’s so much acting talent out there in the world, let’s see it! Down with media that sells by its cast-list alone!
- It ignores tropes about race and gender (and indeed sometimes subverts them). There is none of that commercially-safe focus-group-driven attitude of “the hero can be anyone as long as he’s a white male”.
- It isn’t afraid to start a new story. In a world full of sequels and spin-offs, one television series dared to have a fresh start every episode.
The only complaint I have about Black Mirror is that it doesn’t explore its premises enough. But that’s unfair — it’s like saying a bottle of beer was bad because it wasn’t two bottles. An episode has only so much time, it should be focused on its story and not feel obliged to answer every niggling question a viewer like me could have.
You. If you haven’t already you will watch Black Mirror. Give it a try, just one episode. I command it.
And then, if you like it, you can watch other Charlie Brooker masterpieces:
My rating: Amazing ★★★★
Quick Review: Pompeii (2014)
Plenty of swords, sandals and spectacle. But zero substance.
The characters and plot are two-dimensional and full of lazy tropes. Most irritating to me: combat skill was dictated by plot. The hero kills a half-dozen fully-armed praetorian guard with ease but has a really hard time in the final battle with… a politician.
It’s a very bland movie redeemed only by some visually spectacular arena and volcano scenes.
My rating: Ordinary ★★☆☆
Good Bad Ugly: Halo Spartan Assault
I am a fan of the Halo franchise. So I bought Spartan Assault for a couple of bucks when it appeared on a Steam Sale. I played the PC version; I’m pretty sure the original was a phone or tablet game of some sort.
Sadly Spartan Assault calls these baddies “Drones” when the preferred name must surely be “Buggers”.
Metacritic gives it a 70. Read on for what I think.