Defiance S3E13 – Upon The March We Fittest Die

 

WARNING! SPOILERS BELOW!!

 

Woah! I really didn’t expect that ending at all. It was beautiful, as Nolan jetted through all the different systems in the Omec ship, you could tell the VFX people had really gone wild. What about the bit with the meteor shower hitting that moon??

*sigh*

I will miss Kindzi. I wish she hadn’t got mulched, that she’d died in some way that was recoverable in her superduper state. Or that they’d just nutted her and put her in a sleep pod.

I loved the intense scene between Amanda and Stahma, both actresses just were perfect, I was doing little squeals watching it. The fact that the writers staged it during the dressing change made it extra painful and sad to watch, Stahma almost breaking down as she washed Amanda’s blood away.

When Defiance first started, I was a little disappointed with it: the aliens didn’t feel alien enough and I’m done with aliens who come from planets light years away but, surprise, surprise, pair bond in heteronormative units, have nuclear family structures and all the rest of it. I want alien aliens. Yes, I know shows are constrained because of budgets, hence the latter Trek curse of ‘alien with a bumpy nose’ but even TOS had the Horta. And what about Rygel from Farscape?

But in the two seasons since then, I feel the show has broken through that barrier, of every alien simply being a human but with white skin or a lion face or whatever. The Omec were great because they were hunters and they appeared to have the same social structure as eusocial insects but with both kings and queens (All Fathers and All Mothers). Add to this that incest is the norm in their culture and the show handled it as such and we’re finally getting towards alien aliens.

Ironically, we don’t yet know if Defiance will be renewed for a fourth season. It seems that once shows hit their stride and start producing startling, distinctive television, that’s when they hit trouble with SyFy. It’ll be a damn shame if we don’t get to return to the Defianceuniverse because it’s finally all clicking, all the species and alliances feel real and the actors inhabit their characters, absolutely believably.

So, I guess that’s why they sent Nolan off on that space trip. It was kind of a thank you to us fans as well and showed us that there are wonders out there we have yet to see. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Defiance season 4.

But in the meantime… have some fanfic I just wrote:

ALL HAIL THE ALL FATHER!

Three years have passed since the people of Defiance saved the Earth from the Omec. Today is a town holiday; it is Nolan Day. Lawmaker Irisa hurries down the narrow alley between two aluminium huts to the daycare centre where her son, Lucas, waits patiently at the gate. She nods to Carer David who is holding Luke’s tiny hand.

“How has he been?”

“Oh, a little angel, as ever! He’s just happy sitting in a corner with some crayons and I -”

The Carer is interrupted by a boom that echoes across the town, shaking the walls of the many makeshift buildings. Looking up at the sky, Irisa sees contrails passing overheard. Ships? Too small… Missiles?

“David, can you keep Luke here, I have to see what’s going on!”

“Of course, Irisa, of course! But you take care!”

“Mommy? Where you going?”

Picking the worried looking toddler up, Irisa says, “I’ll be back real soon, Luke, I promise! I love you! You stay here and do me a new picture, will you? Draw me a picture of Grandpa Datak, will you?” She kisses him on his little plump cheeks and then hands him over to David, already turning her radio on to contact Amanda.

As she jogs towards the jail, Amanda crackles over the radio.

“Irisa! What the hell is happening?”

“I have no idea! But meet me at the buggy and we’ll drive up the ridge, that’ll have the best visibility. And pick up Doc Pandey on the way in case there’s injured survivors.”

“Will do!”

Bursting into the jail, she grabs the nearest sack and starts throwing in automatic rifles, pistols, ammo and a couple of grenades. She pauses for a second and then throws in four more. She can almost see Nolan grinning at that. Even now, she knows he’s alive. Of course, Amanda can’t believe that, won’t believe it but Irisa… she can’t believe anything else.

As she opens the door, the world turns over, as if she’d tripped on something invisible and she is flat on her face, dazed. As she picks herself up, blood oozes from her cheek and forehead. She looks up the street.

Omec.

Omec are walking down each side of the street shooting any citizens who are in their way or appear even a slight threat. That’s what they must have done to her. But why is she still alive? The Omec aren’t known for their pacifism. Why are they only stunning the townspeople?

A huge Omec female strides into the space cleared by her clan. She snarls and then bellows, “Behold, the All Father! Behold your Lord, your Ruler, your Saviour!” She puts what looks like a gulanite beacon down and then backs away. As it unfurls into an Omec launchpad, it sings to itself and then issues a horrible squawk. Almost immediately, there is another boom overhead, another capsule. As it descends, it leaves a trail of purple-hued smoke behind it before finally coming to rest on the pad. Irisa can feel the heat radiating off the surface as it cracks and pings, the composite cooling after re-entry.

The capsule peels itself down to the ground, revealing an Omec in full armour including a garishly overblown helmet.

Irisa reaches behind her and starts to loosen the pin on one of the grenades she palmed while the Omec where distracted by the lightshow.

The Omec All Father takes his helmet off, scratches at his beard and then grins at Irisa. The shock washes over her in waves, cold then hot. Her mouth is as dry as dust.

“A grenade, Irisa? Really? Is that any way to greet your old pappy back from his travels?”

Star Trek: Renegades

Finally watched Star Trek: Renegades and I loved it!

Pluses: the sheer love of Trek seeps out of the whole film. I loved playing ‘spot-the-actor’ particularly when it was actors who’d been in Trek but not as the same character as they portray in ST:R.

Also, the CGI for the space scenes is absolutely glorious. Kind of gave me shivers imagining if there was a current mainstream Trek TV series on now, what it could look like. Imagine if Netflix or Amazon had the rights to do it…

Minuses: minor and churlish. I found the music intrusive in a couple of scenes and in one scene it drowned out Ed Furlong’s dialogue. And some of the editing seemed a little off but as I’m by no means a pro myself, I can’t be more specific than that. But I must reiterate: these are tiny complaints about what I believe is a great fandom achievement.

When it ended, I had this sense of what I’ve been missing in TV: new Trek. It’s great that we have the films but I want something like Renegades, a modern Trek series which can establish and then build new characters, new scenarios, NEW SPECIES and expand the universe.

I do hope someone out there in the controlling towers of telly land is paying attention.

We Love The Monkees

And I thought I’d be okay, that it’d be a standard-issue ‘origin/clip/weren’t they great’ cheesy doc. In some ways it is. But the last part of the show, where they show the post-Monkees careers and then talk about Davy passing away… man, that killed me.

I think it’s because I don’t remember a time not knowing The Monkees. I was a little kid when I first saw re-runs and I didn’t actually realise it wasn’t real. I thought that they were just a band!

Then, when I was a teen, I was embarrassed for liking them because they were officially uncool. It was only when I’d grown out of teenage conformity that I went mental on Nesmith and tracked down everything of his on original vinyl.

So many of my songs are Monkees / Nesmith rip-offs it’s incredible people haven’t said it before. I mostly get ‘sounds like Depeche Mode’ which is fair enough as I rip them off too. But, c’mon, I nicked the descending chord intro lick from Listen To Band exactly. And the melody line from As We Go Alongwas a… heavy inspiration *cough* to the first White Town song. And I nicked the bassline from Circle Sky pretty much note for note.

If you’re into music, I think everyone has an artist or band who they’ve grown up with, who will always be there and has become something more than art in their lives, they’re more like family.

For me, that’s what The Monkees are. Yeah, I love a lot of other ‘60s bands as well, Beatles, Stones, loads of Merseybeat and Stax and Motown. But because of that wild TV show, I kind of felt like I had four crazy older brothers who were immeasurably cool and handsome and talented.

I wish I’d seen them play live.

Head – Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?

Yet another clip from Head and also some groundbreaking visuals for 1968. I particularly love the solarised and coloured sequences where they freeze-frame it on beat with the guitar break. I have tried so many times to rip-off the style of this sequence and never managed it yet: the editing is exquisite.

It’s also a wonderful history of how people danced back then. There are obviously professional dancers heavily featured but some of the party crowd look more casual and are just going for it. I love the bit where Davy shimmys across to the cute girl doing classic ‘60s arm moves / fingerclicks.

Finally, it’s another beautiful Monkees song that I can’t find anything to dislike about. The arrangement, the production, the lyrics ~ it’s perfect. Listen to that bassline from Lance Wakely … the way it interweaves with the electric guitar countermelody / lead break and the chunky, overdriven guitar chords is sublime. And the breaks where it shifts into ¾ but never loses pace: amazing. I always play this song to anyone I hear saying the Monkees didn’t write their songs, particularly as it’s a Tork song and he’s so often overlooked. As far as I can research, Tork plays all the guitar on this track. Can you imagine anyone from a current boyband doing something similar?

I need to watch Head again.

Actually, who are we kidding, I need to watch Head every day.

Krays Kraze

Just watched two ads on telly. The first was for the new Kray twins film starring Tom Hardy.

The second was for Jackpotjoy.

The ad stars Barbara Windsor who, in the sixties, was a big fan of the Krays:

Her first marriage was to small time crook Ronnie Knight, and through him, she became associated with the Krays, initially going out with the twins older brother Charlie (who she described as looking ‘a bit like Steve McQueen’), before sleeping with Reggie Kray. (Source)

So, nice juxtaposition there.

But even more so…

The music under the Babs advert is Spandau Ballet’s Gold. Two members of Spandau Ballet are Martin and Gary Kemp who have also done a bit of acting.

And guess who they played?

That’s right, the Kray twins.

Here’s the actual mobsters so you can decide for yourself who did it better:

I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more weird advert coincidences, don’t you worry.

Absurdly Detailed Pop Punk Dream

(My dreams aren’t like normal dreams with hats becoming penguins and all kinds of impossibilities, my dreams tend to be like little films, in Technicolor, full 5.1 and with coherent plots, characters and locations.)

I’m talking to this guy, he’s about 21 or so, we’re walking along and he says that I need to come and see his band, that I’d love them as I love pop punk.

I try to wiggle out of it because I’m thinking they’re gonna be awful and then I’ll have to do my fake rictus of ‘HEY THIS IS AWESOME’ even though it’s not and my face will fall off from the effort. But the kid’s persistent so I agree.

Next thing, I’m jammed into this old, massive American car (we’re not in America) and being driven to who the fuck knows where while we stop and pick up assorted band members.

We get to the place. I thought it’d be a stinky rehearsal room or garage. It’s actually a big venue. The main building is on the right, it’s a two story place, quite wide and has loading ramps up to high, wide doors, like it used to be a warehouse. On the left of it are utility buildings and in front, where we park, is a dusty area about 80 by 80 feet which serves as a pretty basic car park.

Dude explains they’re allowed to practise in the day as most of them work there at night.

I go inside. There’s a wooden-floored area in front of a wide stage that’s about five feet off the ground. On the left are some kiosks for cloakroom and what looks like a permanent merch area.

The band get on stage and I’m trepidatious. After the usual banging around and drummer being a dick with his snare when the singer is trying to soundcheck, they get going. My dude says, “Right, we’re gonna start with a cover, get warmed up.”

Their audience is me and about ten kids who are obviously fans as they look so happy to be there. The cover song starts and I recognise it! It’s this:

And, fuck me – they’re good! They do it justice! It’s hardly an easy song to play but they absolutely fucking kill it. And by now, I’m thinking, these are really, really fucking good. Some of the kids start just dicking around, jumping off the stage and everyone’s having a blast.

Then the cover’s done and dudebro comes up to the mic and says, “Right, we’re warmed up, here’s the song. We’re Jack First and this is Holding On! onetwofreefour!”

And they launch into this utterly amazing pop punk song that’s halfway between Quicksand and Kyoto Now!, just a fast, poppy, angry slab of buttery goodness. Oh my. Cue kids going wilder, doing backflips and me wishing I wasn’t so old and fat.

The band finish and the singer comes over to me.

“Well, what do you think?

“That was fucking brilliant, mate! I loved it! But I feel a bit bad cos I haven’t really got industry contacts I can put you in touch with. I mean, I know lawyers and accountants and promo people but it’s not like the industry liked me when I was signed, let alone now.”

Dude, grinning, “Oh no, we don’t give a fuck about all that, we just wanted some advice about who to avoid, what not to do, what some of it means, like, different contracts.”

“Oh, I can do that, easily. I can just tell you not to do the stuff I did!”

Dude laughs and thanks me for coming along. And I say, “Is there any chance you’ve got that last song as an mp3 or whatever? My mate Mikey DJs at Mosh and I know he’d love it and play it to death, it’s just his kind of thing!”

Dude: “Yeah, no worries, mate, I’ll email it to ya.”

The dream kind of faded out then as I went up to the merch stand to check out their T-shirts.

So, when I woke up, the first thing I checked: there is no current pop punk band called Jack First. So, I haven’t been telepathically communing (again) which is a relief.

But the song, Holding On, was so catchy. I can remember all the words, and at least the chorus chords, they were big, ringing open chords.

I think I’ll try to write it today.