Novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up; nonfiction includes Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge, & Digital McLuhan translated into 15 languages. Details here. Prof, Fordham Univ.
Why the "Flowers Never Bend" Performance in The Orville 3.9 Will Last Forever
This sweet soulful rendition by Lt. Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes) and Ensign Charly Burke (Anne Winters) of Simon & Garfunkel's "Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall" this past July on the 9th episode of the 3rd Season of The Orville certainly wasn't the first vocal performance in a TV drama or comedy that wasn't a musical. It's not even the first sustained singing in a Star Trek or Star Trek inspired TV show. Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) sang "Beyond Antares" in a memorable scene with Spock (in "The Conscience of the King,” episode 1.13 of the original Star Trek series in December 1966) and a couple of other times on the USS Enterprise on network television back then.
Greg Bear, RIP
Greg Bear, author of more than 50 science fiction books, left us yesterday at the too-young age of 71. I'll leave it to others to detail the superb, riveting stories he told us in those books, and tell you instead about three significant ways he had a personal impact on my life. I was always happy to run into him at a science fiction convention, but these three encounters were more than that.
Review of 'The Peripheral' 1.4-1.5
Who took Lev's tea? The disappearance of his tea in episode 1.4 of The Peripheral on Amazon Prime Video was an another signalic moment, just like the coffee container materializing in thin air in what now seems like a much earlier episode. The tea gone and the coffee appearing just like that symbolize the immense forces at play in this so far delicately powerfully rendered series, which as far as I can tell so far hasn't missed a step. (Reminder: I haven't read the book.)
I watched all four episodes of Spector on Showtime last night, and there were things I didn't like in this documentary portrayal of both Phil Spector's career as a rock music producer and more so his trials for the murder of Lana Clarkson. But before I tell you about that, let me offer this disclosure of my relationship to Phil Spector, and what I thought of his music.
So, I just binged Inside Man on Netflix. It's easy to binge, it's only four episodes. But, more important, it's a verging on insane, fast ride of a murder story -- actually more than one murder story -- and it touches on all kinds of life and death issues. It also probes the meaning of parental love, and even has some lethal comedy throw in. Truth is, I've never seen anything like. And you should, too. It's that good, that unique, and memorable in all kinds of ways.
They sometimes call bathrooms washrooms, right? Anyway, I went into the bathroom – the men's room – in Saggio's just to wash my hands and face. It was a hot July day in the city, I'd walked from the train at 181st Street, and I wanted to be as fresh as possible for Jenny. We'd known each other for a while, ever since the Psych Class we’d taken at NYU almost a year ago, but this was just our second date, and I very much wanted everything to go right.
Review of 'Utopia' (British version)
I watched and reviewed the American version of Utopia -- the one season -- here on Vocal two years ago. I thought it had its moments, was right for the occasion of the COVID pandemic, but also had several things I didn't particularly like. Now, two years later, I barely remember it. Indeed, I wasn't thinking about it all until a friend, Mike Grynbaum, urged me to watch the 2013-2014 two-season British version. He said the 2020 American version was terrible, but the British version was right up my alley. He knows that I like to write, read, and watch the genre known as biological science fiction.
Review of 'The Peripheral' 1.1-1.2
I saw the first two episodes of The Peripheral on Amazon Prime Video last night. It's an adaptation of the 2014 novel of the same name by William Gibson, the veritable godfather of cyberpunk who practically invented the genre with his novel Neuromancer in 1984. It was made by the creators of Westworld on HBO. So, The Peripheral has to be good, right?
Review of 'Bosch: Legacy'
As you readers of my reviews may well recall, I said Bosch was the best cop show currently on television. I was therefore not too happy that it concluded, and I expected to be at least somewhat disappointed by its sequel Bosch: Legacy, which I just got around to watching on Amazon's new Freevee service (see a few paragraphs below for more of my thoughts about Freevee). But as to the new series itself: I was just the opposite from being disappointed. I thought the first season of Bosch: Legacy, which continues the story of Bosch, now a private detective, and his beloved daughter Maddie, now a rookie LA cop, was better even than Bosch. It was non-stop superb, with none of the dips and slowdowns that even the great original series occasionally fell victim to.
Review of Rachel Maddow's Ultra podcast
I just listened to the first two episodes of Rachel Maddow's new podcast, Ultra. Its vivid exploration of the fascist right-cadre in America in the late 1930s and (thus far in the podcast) 1940 offer a chilling, stunning historical precedent for what is threatening America right now. I'm recommending the podcast to all three of the classes I'm currently teaching at Fordham University this term.
Review of 'The Outfit'
If you'd like a 2022 movie on Amazon Prime that takes place in the 1950s in one indoor place -- a tailor's shop in Chicago -- starts off slowly and builds up to one of the best series of twists and turns that I've ever seen in a few hours on the screen, check out The Outfit.