Sandman, Wakanda Forever, Firefly

Time to catch up briefly on some other media that I’ve been consuming of late. (Like, over the last few months.)

Literally the first book blog entries that I wrote, back in 2003, were my first reading of the Sandman comics. My wife and son have never read them, but Neil Gaiman’s name carries credibility and we had a good few hours watching this year’s TV series. Some very interesting casting, making the characters much more diverse, which I did not have a problem with at all. The best single episode was “The Sound of Her Wings”, with Kirby Howell-Baptiste excelling as Death; I had completely forgotten that she was also in The Good Place as Chidi’s girlfriend Simone. But most of the others were good too – Tom Sturridge manages to avoid going over the top as the title character, Vivienne Acheampong and Vanesu Samunyai are great as Lucienne and Rose Walker, credible dynamic between Derek Jacobi and Arthur Darville in the Calliope episode, Gwendolyn Christie watchable as ever, nice cameos from Stephen Fry, Charles Dance and Ian McNiece. Not totally convinced by Jenna Coleman, I’m afraid, but otherwise I though it was a good example of taking a story from one medium and adapting it to a new one. I’ll be nominating “The Sound of Her Wings” for the Hugos.

I wasn’t able to tempt either wife or son to Wakanda Forever in the cinema. It was pretty courageous to make a superhero film sequel which starts with the death of the main character from the previous film, but it certainly came out right – no doubt they could have recast T’Challa, and told a completely different story, but fans would have had difficulty with any new male lead and the film ended up as a story led by Black women, which carries its own power; I could watch Letita Wright, Danai Gurira and Angela Bassett all day. I felt a little adrift at a couple of points which I suspect depended on knowledge of the wider MCU mythology – were we supposed to know who Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) is? Were we supposed to know why Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) is in Haiti? But apart from that it was really thrilling to see a film subverting a lot of traditional political themes through the action trope, with the Namor / Talokan plot supplying an extra dimension to that.

More traditionally, we went back and rewatched Firefly, which we had first seen in November 2005, three years after it was broadcast. Young F was six years old then, and too young, we felt, to appreciate it; now he is 23 and enjoyed it as much as we did. The setup makes no sense astronomically or economically, Inara’s business model doesn’t hold water, the occasional graphic violence is squicky, and we now know what an asshole Joss Whedon is in real life, but on the other hand the scripts and acting are generally top notch. My favourite episode, I think, is Jaynestown, but there are other strong contenders. Sometimes it’s worth going back to scenes of previous enjoyment.

So, should we watch Andor?

One thought on “Sandman, Wakanda Forever, Firefly

  1. Definitely. It’s a grown-up Star Wars show with some terrific writing. I think it’s one of the best shows of the year.

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