The Stand 2020: Episode 6 – Vigil

“Hey Trash! What did ole lady Semple say when you torched her pension check?”

(SPOILER WARNING – FOR THE BOOK AND BOTH VERSIONS ON TV!)

So here we are, nearly two thirds of the way through this new adaptation of The Stand, and we’re only now meeting the last of the story’s major characters. Everyone’s favourite pyromaniac the Trashcan Man (formerly known as Donald Merwin Elbert) finally put in an appearance this week – and not before time.

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WandaVision: Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2

“Who’s doing this to you, Wanda?”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

It’s been a funny old year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with no big tentpole blockbusters since 2019’s Avengers Endgame. We’d been used to three or four of these gargantuan spectacles a year, but with cinemas closed due to the pandemic, we comic book nerds have been left hanging.

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The Stand 2020: Episode 5 – Fear and Loathing in New Vegas

“Standing there, looking out, was the shape of a man.”

(SPOILER WARNING – FOR THE BOOK AND BOTH VERSIONS ON TV!)

It was a first in this week’s ep of this new adaptation of The Stand – everything happened in the narrative of the present, with none of the previous disjointed flashbacks skipping merrily around the characters’ pasts. Scene-setting presumably done (though I’m betting we get a few more flashbacks before we’re through), the writers went hell for leather on the Epic Supernatural Struggle they’ve obviously prioritised over all other aspects of the novel.

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The Stand 2020: Episode 4 – The House of the Dead

“… she took his hand.
And Harold Lauder succumbed to his destiny.”


(SPOILER WARNING – FOR THE BOOK AND BOTH VERSIONS ON TV!)

In Stephen King’s first non-fiction examination of his writing, Danse Macabre, he talks at some length about the process of writing The Stand. A large part of his inspiration, he says, came from George R Stewart’s classic 1949 post-apocalyptic novel Earth Abides. Stewart’s novel lengthily examines the realistic aftermath of a pandemic that nearly wipes out humanity, tracking the redevelopment of society and its evolution over the following decades.

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The Stand 2020: Episode 3 – Blank Pages

“… finally Nick understood.

               ‘You are this blank page’.”

(SPOILER WARNING – FOR THE BOOK AND BOTH VERSIONS ON TV!)

This new version of The Stand is now onto its third ep, and has finally started filling in some of the gaps in its non-linear narrative, as we start seeing some of the bits we missed while it concentrated on five main characters in its scattershot first two instalments. That’s a welcome change of pace, but there’s still plenty of gaps to fill in for an audience that might not have been familiar with the source material.

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Doctor Who: Series 13, Episode 0 – Revolution of the Daleks

“I was in prison for being me – right at the point I wasn’t sure what that meant.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

The Timeless Children was a bit of a game changer (and I realise that, for various reasons, I haven’t written about it yet – I will get to it). Controversially rewriting the whole of Who continuity (again), it had a lot of fans up in arms, and left many, many unanswered questions. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 13, Episode 0 – Revolution of the Daleks”

The Stand 2020: Episode 2 – Pocket Savior

“There’s something in you that’s like biting on tinfoil, Larry.”

“Mister, if you’re real, then… I think you’re the Devil.”

(SPOILER WARNING – FOR THE BOOK AND BOTH VERSIONS ON TV!)

The second episode of this new version of The Stand carries on in the template set by the first – a non-linear narrative skipping through the book, to focus on a couple of the major characters. In this case, it’s Jerk With a Heart of Gold singer Larry Underwood, and no-good but slightly pathetic convict Lloyd Henreid. Just as last week, this is one character who ends up on the side of the goodies, and one who ends up on the side of the baddies, and their stories intertwine throughout the episode.

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The Stand 2020: Episode 1 – The End

(SPOILER WARNING – FOR THE BOOK AND BOTH VERSIONS ON TV!)

Stephen King’s The Stand is one of my favourite books ever. I first read it when I was 12 years old, and was captivated by this epic, 800 page long saga of Ultimate Good fighting Ultimate Evil in a post-apocalypse United States. Later, the Full Uncut version was released, bumping the page count up by about 300 by restoring the material cut in 1978, when the publisher didn’t believe the market would take to a book that long. I loved that version even more.

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Not with a bang but a Winchester

“You guys are my favourite show!” – God

(SPOILER WARNING – DON’T READ UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN SUPERNATURAL RIGHT TO THE END!)

Well, I guess it was time.

Long past time, if I’m honest, for the longest running American genre show of all time to come to an end. Supernatural has been with us now for fifteen years. Cast your mind back to 2005 – a different world to the one we live in now. Nobody imagined a world where a baroque nutjob like Donald Trump was President, or a massive credit crunch that nearly destroyed the world’s financial system, or everyone having a supercomputer smartphone in their pockets, or a pandemic that had most of the world confined to their homes to varying degrees. I mean yeah, George W Bush was President, 9/11 was still fresh in American memories, and much of the world was outraged by the ongoing occupation of several Middle Eastern countries on which the US had imposed its will in the name of freedom. But still, compared to today, it felt like a simpler time.

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Of pandemics, social media and mental health…

“Marvelous technology is at our disposal and instead of reaching up for new heights, we try to see how far down we can go…how deep into the muck we can immerse ourselves!”
– Eric Bogosian, Talk Radio

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. I’d thought, initially, that the pandemic would enable me to do some sort of ‘Journal of the Plague Years’ a la Daniel Defoe, but that soon faded when I realised that, when you’re locked down, there are no events to write about. Not for me, anyway. No baking banana bread or learning to crochet here. Just the endless, repetitive routine of being stuck in my tiny Barcelona apartment, with my windowless bedroom, trying as best I could to not interfere with my roommate having to work from home in our tiny living room. Continue reading “Of pandemics, social media and mental health…”