I was worried the quality would fall, that the cachet of being a TV series would lead to a reflexive simplification of the characters or more tv-friendly arcs.
The penultimate book in The Expanse series is sad, funny, horrific, beatific and everything else they all have been from book one.
These people were murdered by a Nazi. All the Nazi apologists out there, the alt-righters, Pewdiepie fans, Gamergaters, MRAs and assorted racist edgelords… this is the culture they have created.
So, I bought one of the most-hated-on-the-net cameras, the Canon RP and here are my first test shots:
Yeah… I think I’ll be keeping it… 😛
Take a look at the pic above. Not the most inspiring, is it? If I had judged The Order by its promo, I could easily have skipped one of the best bits of television I’ve seen in my life.
Yes, The Order is that good.
Netflix is nothing if not fecund. Its womb overflows with series, some original, some not, some hasty re-badgings of other networks’ net works.
I think it’s fair to say that most of us, knowing that Netflix values quantity over quality, have consequently adjusted our televisual expectations downwards. If a major network like the BBC was to field an entirely new supernatural series, that would be news. Netflix does that with every breath sooo… ehhh… What’s this one? Teenage vamps? Werewolves? Zombies? Genre telly is pushing no boundaries, it is almost entirely comfort viewing. The same well-worn tropes told in exactly the same thin, YA way.
That’s why I was so surprised by The Order. I just wanted to put some telly on while I scoffed my tea, nothing heavy, nothing brain-disrupting, some light escapism would do. Hell, even YA since everything is cursed with YA nowadays. Might as well go with that ridiculously emotionally unrealistic flow.
But from the very opening scenes… I sit up and take notice. There’s a distinct Buffy vibe going on between what I assume are two principal witches. And the relationship between the central character, Jack (Jake Manley) and his Pops (Matt ‘MAX HEADROOM’ Frewer) isn’t the pure, gloopy corn syrup we’ve come to expect; it’s complex and we’re given strong hints that it’s broken in profound ways.
Sheesh… that’s the first ten minutes.
The premise is this: Jack and his Pops have an axe to grind with a blokey that has something to do with a secret society based at Belgrave University. For reasons we don’t yet know, they blame him for Jack’s Mum’s death. Oh, and said blokey happens to be… duh duh DUHHHH! JACK’S DAD! Lovely!
So Jack goes to Belgrave and on his first day meets… Alyssa!
She is supremely irritated by Jack and so, of course, following teenage lust rules SUPER ATTRACTED TO HIM (yeah, me neither).
He also meets this dude:
Initially, he’s his dorm guide but the two hit it off and we warm to Randall as he has some funny lines. Like, no, really, they are funny. You will at least snort if not literally LOL. “I’m Wikipedia smart!” is one I plan to plagiarise often. And the Oprah one.
Bear in mind, we’re now twenty minutes in and not much SUPERNATURAL has happened yet… at all. So, why have I kept watching? Because it’s a long time since I heard dialogue this funny and well-paced, particularly in genre telly which more often tends to the clunkily portentous. You know what I mean… “LO, WITCH, FORFEIT THE DAGGER OF SHNNGTHHHTTHH OR FEEL THE UNLEASHED FURY OF THE HOUNDS OF GLAKNKRISHP!”
So, The Order is snappy, it moves along without any of the detours, longueurs or outright Netflixitis that’s doomed many a fresh-faced show. Just because you can show me a tap dripping for two minutes doesn’t mean you should. (Hey, The OA!)
Then, when the supernatural bits do start kicking in, it’s all done similarly smartly. There’s a lot of emphasis on make-up, practical effects and grounding the fantastic in the mundane rather than the over-reliance on shonky CGI that yer average Netflix ghosty show wallows in. Thus, we never get the spooky drama ruined by low-polygon FX, everything is done without over-stepping budget believability. And I do love a good mask:
And then, right at the end of ep one… WE HAVE OUR FIRST HUUUGE MONSTER. And, wow, they are sooo cuddly. And bitey.
Over the following nine eps of series one, I became totally hooked on The Order. I didn’t even mind the romance subplot and usually they annoy the shit out of me. The writers on The Order know how to pitch a love story so it’s real, it’s not cloyingly sweet or pure, clothes-shredding, perfect-sex fantasy… it’s a bit awkward and a lot frustrating. C’mon, that’s what those first relationships are actually like!
And when the monster threat in ep one is dealt within in ep two, we don’t feel let down or in any way cheated by the resolution. In fact, I actually kicked myself for not for figuring it all out earlier, there were actual glaring clues, it wasn’t a Murder She Wrote impossibility.
So that’s what I think shines in The Order: the writing, the characters, the acting, the plots AND the romance, the mise en scene, the cinematography. And, yes, even the CGI is tasteful and enhances the whole show. Now, how often can you say that?
Give The Order a go. Give it one ep and I promise… you’ll be hooked!
It’s not enough that you confuse me, say one thing then the opposite, stop start, set boundaries but never respect mine. You have to add to that by calling me a liar.
When have I lied? I’m not your fucking idiot ex. Don’t confuse me with him because that is the worst slur I can imagine.
What the fuck do you want from me?
Taken with my Fuji XT-3 which I eventually sold on… nice shots but I had trouble with the focussing on the day far more than everyone else reports.
All taken on my OM-D EM1 Mk2 and 60mm macro lens.
People hate on micro 4/3 because you “can’t do deep bokeh.”
These crazy cats, though:
“The Fundamental Fysiks Group was founded in San Francisco in May 1975 by two physicists, Elizabeth Rauscher and George Weissmann, at the time both graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley. The group held informal discussions on Friday afternoons to explore the philosophical implications of quantum theory. Leading members included Fritjof Capra, John Clauser, Philippe Eberhard, Nick Herbert, Jack Sarfatti, Saul-Paul Sirag, Henry Stapp, and Fred Alan Wolf.
David Kaiser argues, in How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival (2011), that the group’s meetings and papers helped to nurture the ideas in quantum physics that came to form the basis of quantum information science. Two reviewers wrote that Kaiser may have exaggerated the group’s influence on the future of physics research, though one of them, Silvan Schweber, wrote that some of the group’s contributions are easy to identify, such as Clauser’s experimental evidence for non-locality attracting a share of the Wolf Prize in 2010, and the publication of Capra’s The Tao of Physics (1975) and Zukav’s The Dancing Wu Li Masters (1979) attracting the interest of a wider audience.
Kaiser writes that the group were “very smart and very playful”, discussing quantum mysticism and becoming local celebrities in the Bay Area’s counterculture. When Francis Ford Coppola bought City Magazine in 1975, one of its earliest features was on the Fundamental Fysiks Group, including a photo spread of Sirag, Wolf, Herbert, and Sarfatti.”
I don’t doubt the gaming calibre of the latop; it’s all there. What I do doubt is that anyone could use it as a daily PC without being driven insane by the (stereo) fans. From the get go, this machine was like standing behind an RB211 and that was with it doing nothing. Literally nothing, all apps shut. As soon as you fire up a browser, you’re caught up in even more noise and there’s a little old lady threatening to get you and your little dog too.
I went into the settings. I switched the fans into what Asus egregiously call ‘silent’ mode. Hey, Asus, if that’s silent then I’m a gherkin. I went online, SURELY people aren’t putting up with this fan noise, there must be a hack, some kind of BIOS setting I’d missed or peekypokey work-around.
Nope. The most helpful post suggested wearing headphones whilst playing games.
Look, with the Nvidia and the 120Hz and the RGB blah blah, there’s no doubt this is capable of delivering solid gaming performance but I cannot recommend this machine for any other purpose than playing a very loud game. With headphones on.
I’ve since returned this machine to Amazon and am typing this review on it’s replacement: a Lenovo P71. Boring, no RGB. BUT it is absolutely whisper quiet as I’m typing this, my central heating is way louder. Waaay better trackpad too.
tl;dr AUNTIE EM! AUNTIE EM!