Discover more from All the Fanfare
The Friday High Five
On Sympathetic Sith, Reliving the 80s, and Starfield as a Studio
Every Friday I share 5 things that brought me joy this week. Also, high fives are inherently cool, and I think we can all agree Friday is the bestest day. Hence the Friday High Five. 🙏🏻
5 Things I Enjoyed This Week:
I’m enjoying Ahsoka. It’s a bit uneven, and I really wish Lucasfilm would be more intentional about putting people in lightsaber fights if it doesn’t have the stomach to finish them. Activating a lightsaber should be a matter of last resort—somebody shouldn’t be walking away. As Raylan Givens once said, “You make me pull, I'll put you down.” The Disney+ shows treat lightsabers like rave glow sticks.
Maybe I’m the problem for bringing logic to a fantasy universe, and hoping for things like meaningful stakes. But on the whole, Ahsoka is good. More Star Wars is always a net positive.
Rosario Dawson is Ahsoka, I couldn’t have imagined a better realization of the character. And I’m a fan of seeing a story centered almost entirely on female characters. My favorite character is the Dark Jedi / maybe Sith—it’s not clear but it doesn’t matter, he has a red lightsaber and we all know what that means—Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson). Baylan’s the most interesting character because he’s complex, with unknowable motives. Frankly, I’m not used to seeing Star Wars villains who aren’t outright evil.
Baylan is what Count Dooku could’ve been with better writing.
On a related note, here’s an interesting piece I ran this week at Fanfare: Lucasfilm’s Disregard for the O.G. Heir to the STAR WARS Empire Is Part of a Larger Entertainment Industry Problem
As Bill Murray once sang, “Oh Star Wars! Nothing but Star Wars!”
This HBO series has been on my list for a long time.
I recently borrowed When the Game Was Ours, a book about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s rivalry of the 80s. I decided it would be fun to watch this series alongside the book. It is, but the book pales in comparison. Granted, the book is factual and the series plays with the facts for dramatic effect. But Winning Time is a winner.
I can’t say enough about how well the show cast Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Just look at the image above. It’s almost uncanny. John C. Reilly steals the show as owner Jerry Buss, a playboy in every sense, but somehow still a good guy. Kareem is an absolute tool, which is a delight.
It’s super weird watching a biopic of something I can kind of remember. Shit, am I getting old?
I tend to be a believer when it comes to paranormal stuff. Not blind belief. I’m a healthy skeptic, but I keep an open mind. So the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing last month on freaking UFOs(!) immediately demanded my attention.
Dave Grusch, the UFO whistleblower at the center of the hearing, recently popped up on YouTube and talked further about what he knows. The conversation was wide-ranging and delves into pure speculation, but as someone who grew up watching Unsolved Mysteries, I ate that shit up.
Anyway, I’ve now fallen down a UFO rabbit hole. Even if some of this stuff is far-fetched, it’s interesting to think about.
I didn’t want to talk about Starfield again—fine, I did—but it’s still occupying an outsized piece of my mind and also has colonized my free time. I’m planning on writing another piece about it. The game is just so rich and interesting.
What I did not expect is how much I enjoy the photo mode. It’s actually changing how I play. As I traverse the universe, I’m always looking for interesting vistas and places that would make for fun pictures. Lots of games have photo modes, but I have never used it as much as I do in Starfield.
Anyway—here’s the potential title of my next story on the game: Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Space Scientists. If you know, you know.
I dropped like 1000 words on Deadwood last Friday, so I’m going to keep this succinct.
I’m midway into season two of my latest rewatch, and am increasingly amazed at the fact that Al Swearengen (Ian McShane)—the murderous, duplicitous saloon owner and frontier pimp—is actually the Hero of the story. Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) is the traditional hero. He wears the badge and gun. But he’s a small ‘h’ hero.
Al is the hero Deadwood deserves. He’s the only one with the foresight and the fortitude to recognize what needs to be done and to see it done. It’s easy to overlook, given Al’s coarse manner and rough handling of everyone. He’s morally bankrupt. But he also employs a woman with severe birth deflects, who otherwise would’ve starved long ago. He’s one of the most complex characters ever brought to life.
Your turn! Where do you stand on UFOs? How are you liking Ahsoka so far? Are you interested in reading my Starfield fan-fic? Drop a comment like it’s hot.