This is not the most elegant of first posts, because I still have this big long thing I keep shuffling around and it will likely not get finished, much less posted, until late tonight.
This is the drive-by placeholder, also an invitation for everyone else to jump in at their own level of confusion or clarity. Probably best to start with an open thread first anyway.
Okay, reading the book helped, but partly because I probably didn’t retain enough, and partly because the experience of moving through the show narrative is much more demanding, I found myself struggling between the need to open the book up for reference and the desire to just float along on the rushing current of the show and fill in the blanks later. I chose the latter.
First thing, it was good, it was worth the wait, and even more engaging than I anticipated, in a way the book wasn’t (for me). I’m not a military buff, it’s largely a foreign planet to me, I don’t have a lot of war narratives under my belt. As I read the book, I struggled with keeping the characters straight, not to mention their rank and their relationships with each other, official and non. Watching characters portrayed by actors was much easier, and for me at least, helped the narrative flow. In addition, this was probably where I saw the most recognizable Simon/Burns signature thus far, that strength of theirs when introducing a large cast in a short amount of time.
Mostly though, even after twice through, I’m still in the immersion phase. Overall, the main thing that I was struck by repeatedly as I watched last night —and I find this immensely fucking exciting— is how dense and rich the narrative structure is, how much we have to pay attention to in order to understand what’s happening. There’s dialogue and characterization, sure. But we get put on watch immediately that all our senses are going to be needed to really get this, which is good, since there’s a cubic shitload of information flying toward us, seemingly unfiltered (though of course, very carefully so), and it’s all meant to tell us what’s really going down. On re-viewing the second time, it’s immediately obvious the opening sequence is a war game, because it’s too quiet, too orderly, too understandable and logical to be real.
What did that dude on the radio say? And who was it that said it? Echo Five Charlie? Who the fuck is that? Why’d they pick up that gun, not the big one? Oh, this must not be that dangerous, no one is wearing helmets. What is that they yell so everyone knows to put on their masks and mopp suits? Etc, etc.
It seemed obvious that the show had to begin before the introduction of Wright’s character, and I dug the way the narrative and the new characters and situations were layered up, also where they broke the first episode, basically at the “We are not in fucking Kansas anymore, and you, Toto, are just lucky you didn’t get your ass shot.”
More later. Have some skittles, we’ll be here a while.
UPDATED: crickets….crickets. You don’t post, you don’t comment… hello, is this thing on?
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